Original Otways Federation Coverlet to go on display during CrossXpoll

Published on 05 June 2018

Federation Coverlet web.jpg

CrossXpollination’s 2018 theme ‘Journeys’ will provide a fitting backdrop for the display of the original Otways Federation Coverlet this July 7-29.

The coverlet is a textile-based journey into the past, chronicling the story of settlement of the Otways region.

The coverlet was created around the time of federation, when many communities throughout Australia marked the significance of federation by creating pieces of domestic memorabilia such as quilts.

Each embroidered panel relates to local people, listed either by full names or initials. One square, dated 1903 commemorates a survey party.

The Otways Federation Coverlet is in the care of the Otway Districts Historical Society, which has been researching its history for the past five years.

The coverlet measures just short of two metres square, and comprises 20 hand embroidered squares on a backing of what is thought to be sheeting fabric.

Otway Districts Historical Society Secretary Lauris Jephcott said each embroidered panel seemed to relate to local people, listed by either full names or initials.

“One square, dated 1903, commemorates a survey party, many of whom worked under harsh conditions to survey land holdings, roads and the railway,” Mrs Jephcott said.

“The coverlet features names and initials which the Otway Districts Historical Society is still working to identify.

“Local names include Deppeler, Raper and Bellchambers. The coverlet is believed to have originated from a member of the Perkins family, who were landholders in the Beech Forest area.”

Acting COPACC Manager Tamzin McLennan said that after hosting a photographic replica of the coverlet in May, COPACC was thrilled to secure the original patchwork piece, embroidered and sewn by the original settlers of the Otways.

“The coverlet is a special piece of our local history that marks a time of growth in towns including Beech Forest, Gellibrand, Carlisle River and Lavers Hill,” Ms McLennan said.

“It’s a beautifully crafted, delicate piece that’s in real contrast to the harsh conditions our early settlers faced on the ridge.

“The coverlet fits so well with this year’s CrossXpollinatioN theme of Journeys, as it provides a window into the lives of our community’s forebears.”

The CrossXpollinatioN textile and fibre exhibition is on display at COPACC from July 7-29, and at the Red Rock Regional Theatre and Gallery from June 30 to July 29.

CrossXpollinatioN is proudly presented by COPACC and RRRTAG, and sponsored by Tarndie, Irrewarra Sourdough and Star Printing.