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Quilt - Martha Bergin, 1843 Object Reg. No: HT 12340

Alternative Name(s): Bedspread, Embroidery

Appliqué quilt, with floral and bird pattern on heavy off-white fabric. The quilt was brought to Victoria by gold-rush immigrants from Ireland. It was made by Martha Bergin in Athlone, Ireland, in 1843. She was then aged about 21, and married three years later, in May 1846, to Andrew Tipping. They migrated to Australia in 1851, sailing on the Beulah from Plymouth to Hobart. They moved to Melbourne within a year, remained for three years, then moved to the goldfields. Only one of their seven children survived childhood. They remained in central Victoria for the rest of their lives.
Appliqué quilt, with floral and bird pattern on heavy off-white fabric. Appliqué is made up of many different types of fabric, some printed with patterns such as flowers. A simple blanket-style stitch is used around the appliquéd pieces and to form stems between floral forms. Original fringe was trimmed back in recent decades to small woven trim; a relative also washed the quilt, which has caused slight bleeding to some colours.
Acquisition Information:
Donation from Dr Edmund Muirhead, 2006
Discipline: History
Dimensions: 264.00 cm (Height), 243.00 cm (Width)
Dimension Comment: Quilt too fragile to unfold. Approximate measurements provided by curator.

More information

Tagged with: goldfields, handcrafts, infant mortality, marriage customs rites, needlework, settlement, women s work, irish communities, irish immigration
Themes this item is part of: Martha Bergin (later Tipping), Irish Migrant & Quiltmaker (1822-1883), Clothing & Textiles Collection, Migration Collection
On Display at: Melbourne Museum
Primary Classification: MIGRATION
Secondary Classification: Travel - Brought Goods
Tertiary Classification: dowries
Inscriptions: Martha . Bergin/Athlone/A.D - 1843
Place & Date Made: Martha Bergin, Rathdowney, Queens County (County Laois), Ireland, 1843
References: J. Tipping, Bush Teachers of Victoria - the Story of the Tipping Family. John Tipping, 1991 (copy donated to Museum Victoria - placed in the Museum's library)
M. Rolfe, Patchwork Quilts in Australia, plate 7 (photograph of the quilt) - note that a copy of this image has yet to be obtained

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