Rylstone and District Historical Society (RDHS) members are researching information on a fascinating quilt that has come to light at the War Memorial Memorial museum in Canberra.
The quilt contains around 1000 embroidered names, many of them from the Rylstone district.
The quilt is at the Australian War Memorial because it contains the names of 49 WWI soldiers – most of who have now been identified.
The other 950 or so names and embroiderers are the subject of the RDHS research.
RDHS president Helen Marsonet said she first learned of the quilt’s existence about five years ago when she was rummaging through old RDHS documents that were in a plastic shopping bag in the society’s office.
“I discovered a hand written letter from a Mrs Simpson giving information about the quilt and how it had been found,” Mrs Marsonet said.
“The letter had been sent to a former member of the RDHS, Meredith Taylor, following her enquiries.
“It appears that the lady had bid for a cupboard full of linen at a house auction in Sydney and had subsequently found the quilt.
“At the top of the quilt were the words ‘The Rylstone Autograph Quilt’ and it was embroidered all over with signatures in white thread.
“There was also reference to WWI and the names of soldiers who had enlisted in the military forces from the district.
“She subsequently sent the quilt to the Rylstone RSL, but as the members of the board had nowhere to keep it they sent it back.
“Thankfully, Mrs Simpson had the good sense to send it to the war memorial where it is today.”
Mrs Marsonet believes people paid sixpence (five cents) and then wrote their names or other family member’s names in pencil.
Women would then embroider the names later.
This was a fundraiser for the war effort at the time.
The Rylstone and District Historical Society are keen to identify all the names on the quilt and the names of the embroiderers.
Their aim is to put on an exhibition next year in History Week and they’d like to talk with anyone who may have further information on the names.
If you’d like to see if your ancestor’s name might be there, call into the cottage Museum, Rylstone on a Sunday or phone Helen Marsonet on 6379 0772 and ask for information on the quilt.
You can obtain a form and a guide to research which can be filled out.
There will also be workshops later in the year to help people.