$5 – $10

Weston Bate Memorial Lecture

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$5 – $10

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Sovereign Hill

Bradshaw Street

Golden Point, VIC 3350

Australia

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'I find my sewing powers of great advantage here': Needlework on the diggings

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In 1856, Maggie Hoey wrote to her sister in Scotland: ‘I find my sewing powers of great advantage here’. By ‘here’, Maggie was referring to her new home on the Victorian goldfields. By her ‘sewing powers’, she meant her skills in needlework that ranged from making and mending clothing to furnishing her tent. This lecture will explore the ‘great advantage’ of women’s and men’s sewing on the diggings: how it made them comfortable by clothing and housing them, but how it also helped assert their place in the tumultuous gold-rush society. It will draw on diaries, letters and memoirs written on the diggings, on the illustrations and photographs that richly captured those experiences, and on the rare surviving examples of needlework now preserved in museum collections. It will show just how important sewing could be to transform daily life.

Dr Lorinda Cramer is a postdoctoral researcher at the Australian Catholic University, where she is currently working on the ARC Discovery project Men’s Dress in Twentieth-Century Australia: Masculinity, Fashion, Social Change. Her research into dress, fashion and textile history is underpinned by material culture and inspired by her work for more than a decade as a museum curator and collection manager. Her PhD, completed in 2015, explored the lives of Victoria's female gold-rush migrants through their needlework: from the clothes they sewed for themselves and their families to the textile goods they made for their homes and the relentless demands of mending and darning.

This research was published by Bloomsbury in 2020 as Needlework and Women's Identity in Colonial Australia and has recently been released in paperback.

This is a Covid-safe event and will be held under the current government guidelines. Visitors 16 years of age and over must show their COVID-19 vaccination status as a condition of entry. This requirement will extend to visitors aged 12 and over once phase D of the roadmap is reached - indicatively 24 November.


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Date and time

Location

Sovereign Hill

Bradshaw Street

Golden Point, VIC 3350

Australia

View Map

Organiser The Sovereign Hill Museums Association

Organiser of Weston Bate Memorial Lecture

Sovereign Hill is an outdoor museum presenting the story of Australia’s fabulous goldrush. Its particular focus is the impact of the great 19th century gold discoveries on the growth of Ballarat, which was a small pastoral settlement when gold was discovered in 1851. By 1861, Ballarat had grown into a fine provincial city built on the wealth derived from its gold.

Sovereign Hill is administered by The Sovereign Hill Museums Association - a not-for-profit, community-based organisation. The Association is also responsible for the administration of the Gold Museum and the Narmbool historic pastoral property.

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