The National Museum Australia is seeking the public’s help to identify 650 people whose names are embroidered on a rare autograph quilt.
National Museum Australia senior curator Dr Martha Sear said that the quilt is one of the earliest known signature quilts in Australia.
“This is the only 19th-century autograph quilt we are aware of in a public collection in Australia,” Dr Sear told The Age.
It is believed the quilt was created in 1894 as a fundraiser for St Mary’s Church of England in Sunbury.
It was then sold in 1895 as part of the Cobury Presbyterian Church’s bazaar to raise funds for Australian missionaries affected by the Kucheng Massacre in China. In October 1896, the quilt was displayed at the Warragul Presbyterian Church, but that was where the trail ended.
Only 50 of the 650 names on the quilt have been identified so far. Some of the names reveal connections to Melbourne missionaries. Melbourne Presbyterian churches in the 1890s were actively involved in overseas missionary work in South Africa, the Pacific and China.
Do you recognise any of the names or symbols on the quilt? Perhaps you know the stories behind some of the autographs.
The National Museum has more details about the quilt on their website.