This brought tears to my eyes!
One of my favourite objects in the museum’s collection is a charming needlework sampler made by 19-year-old assisted immigrant Julia Donovan on board the Carnatic in January 1879. Immigration records show that Julia arrived in Rockhampton, Queensland, from England on 5 February 1879, and presumably went into domestic service in the growing port town.
Needlework sampler made by Julia Donovan on board Carnatic en route to Australia, 1879
From the 17th century, embroidered samplers were used to teach young girls the essential art of needlework, incorporating a repertoire of stitches and motifs that would be used to mark household linens and garments. While samplers typically featured a combination of letters of the alphabet in upper and lower case, numerals, geometric borders and small emblems, the specific arrangement of motifs was often highly personal to the maker.
Julia Donovan’s sampler is hand embroidered in cross stitch using green, blue, red and…
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