Unravelling the past

Throughout Australia many communities marked the significance of Federation by creating pieces of domestic memorabilia such as quilts.  The Otways Federation coverlet is a textile-based journey into the past, chronicling the story of settlement in the Otway region.

Each embroidered panel relates to local people from areas around Beech Forest and Gellibrand, listed either by full names or initials, many of whom worked under harsh conditions to survey land holdings, roads and the railway.  One square, number 3, commemorates a survey party, who travelled from Carlisle, camping and enduring the harsh conditions of rain, hail, snow and wind along with their horses who would sink deeply into the earth with the deplorable road conditions on the way to Cape Horn.
Another great example of how the individual squares depicted families and where they lived can be seen in square 18 with initials and names; Selina Pearce, WGW (William George Webb), Edward Deppeler, Henry Deppeler, John Bird, G H Bath (George Henry Bath), Joe Hayes (John Hayes, Ivy (Ivy Webb) Emily Deppeler, SJW (Sarah Jane Webb), George Webb, Annie Birrer, closely matching the map locations of where the  families resided in Beech Forest.

The coverlet measures just under 2 metres square and comprises 20 hand joined embroidered squares on a backing of what is thought to be sheeting fabric machine sewn to the panels.  The coverlet is believed to have been put together by a Mrs Perkins, an Otways resident.

The Otways Federation Coverlet is in the care of the Otway Districts Historical Society, Beech Forest, who have been researching the quilt's history, to identify names and initials to tell the definitive story of the Federation coverlet. To view the quilt contact us to arrange a time.