More on Australian Rugmaking History

ISSN 2207-001X

Have you noticed the number in the top right-hand corner of the Rug Hooking Australia blogs?  This number was assigned by the National Library of Australia and means Blogs can be deposited in the National Gallery of Australia archives.

Speaking of archives, information gathered by members about Australian Rug hookers prior to the formation of the Guild in 2008, is now posted in an Australian History Section on the Guild website. Readers are encouraged to contact us to add, or correct any of the information shown.

Included in this Section you’ll find information about Australian Rugmakers, listed by Name and State; information on museums with collections of early rag rugs (hooked or prodded) and articles about and by, Australian rugmakers and in some cases a link to the article.

With the publishers permission, there is a link to the full article written by an Australian and published in a 1990 issue of Rug Hooking Magazine(USA). The author comments on the history of rug hooking in Australia from early settlement, describing how the craft was carried into modern times and mentioning contemporary rughookers, in particular, Textile Artist, Isabel Foster of Victoria.

As I write this, I’m reminded of the first (new format), Rughooking Australia Blog which featured Isabel Foster and told of several guild members, myself included, who travelled from Western Australia and South Australia to Victoria in January 2014 to meet a Victorian group, the Yarra Valley Rugmakers, and attend The Challenge of Colour, Isabel Foster’s 50 Year Retrospective.   What a wonderful experience that was.

Isabel Foster (centre) at Burrinja Exhibition
Isabel Foster (centre) at the  Burrinja Exhibition, Victoria, Australia
Judith (SA), Robyne (VIC) and Jo(WA)
Judith (SA), Robyne (VIC) and Jo(WA) listening to Isabel tell of her love of colour and textiles.
Leanne, Joy, Jen & Renate
Leanne, Joy, Jen & Renate – all of Victoria, Australia

Sarah Squire Todd – Hobart, Tasmania (1861-1959) and her granddaughter Mary Ransom, were mentioned in the same magazine article.

Sarah Todd, a famous Australian wood-carver, was forced to give up wood-carving in favour of embroidery, needlework and rug-making in her advancing years.  More details of her life and art can be found [here]

The Wool Centre, Ross, Tasmania, Australia
Courtesy of The Tasmanian Wool Centre, Ross, Tasmania, Australia

The Tasmanian Wool Centre in Ross, Tasmania, has a rag rug in the Museum’s collection made by Mary Ransom born in Tasmania c 1915. It is not currently on display but can be viewed by appointment.

The list of places where rugs are found to be archived is growing.

Added to the Pioneer Women’s Hut in Tumbarumba and the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney, both in New South Wales, is the Migration Museum in Adelaide, South Australia.

Corinne Ball, Curator of the Migration Museum, provided images and has given permission to show these rugs which she thinks were made in the Depression era or thereabouts:-

Courtesy of Migration Museum, Adelaide, South Australia HT90-143
Courtesy of Migration Museum, Adelaide, South Australia HT90.143
Courtesy of Migration Museum, Adelaide, South Australia HT90.141
Courtesy of Migration Museum, Adelaide, South Australia HT90.141
Courtesy of Migration Museum Adelaide, South Australia HT90_142
Courtesy of Migration Museum Adelaide, South Australia HT90.142
Courtesy of Migration Museum, SA HT86.404 - Community Banners project 1986 "Memories & Dreams"
Courtesy of Migration Museum, SA HT86.404 – Community Banners project 1986 “Memories & Dreams”

The Museum is located in Adelaide, South Australia at 82 Kintore Ave (08) 8207 7570 …… Open Daily 10am-5pm Mon-Fri and 1pm-5p Weekends,  Admission is Free.    

More information on this Banner is available on the Museum website and there’s also an image, provided by Faye Godfrey of South Australia, of the Banner along with the group who made it, in the Guild’s History Section.

If you would like to include information about an Australian rugmaker, please email with details and permission to publish.

This history project is like a giant jig saw puzzle – it’s interesting to fit the pieces together as information comes to light. Who knew there was so much to report about rug hooking in jo_franco_editor_membership_chair_aust_rugmakers_guildAustralia.

I encourage you to read the History section and look forward to your feedback.  Jo Franco,  Editor


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