Pioneering expectations

  • Photo of quilt with main tones of brown. Log cabin pattern

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    Quilt number 1399

    Made by Julia Jeffries in the 1890s

  • Photo of quilt withbright red squares. Log cabin pattern

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    Quilt number 2382

    Made by Julia’s Jeffries granddaughter Florence Evans in the 1950s

  • Photo of a quilt with checked fabrics. Log Cabin pattern

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    Quilt number 2383

    Made by Julia’s Jeffries great-great granddaughter, and Florence’s granddaughter Doreen Blake in the 1970s

Pioneering expectations

For many years, friends and colleagues have recommended a visit to the Pioneer Women’s Hut, so it was with great expectations that M&G NSW finally got the opportunity to visit the museum, located seven kilometres from Tumbarumba on the Wagga Road.

The humble entrance to the museum conceals a delightful collection, which concentrates on common, everyday objects—things usually discarded when worn out. Themed displays relate to rural domestic history, revealing ‘the ingenuity of women in finding solutions to the challenges of looking after a family in early rural Australia.'

The make do and mend ethic of earlier generations is celebrated here, along with the female instinct to creatively decorate even the most prosaic of items.

While this making-do theme runs through every display; darned socks, sheets that have been patched many times, trivets made from covered bottle caps packing-case furniture, patchwork clothing and quilts, the Pioneer Women's Hut's claim to fame is their quilt collection.

The three on display here are from three generations of women in the same family and their representations of the same quilt pattern.

They have a purpose-built space dedicated to their storage and display. Opened in 2011, the Heritage Quilt room currently features over 75 heritage quilts. Quilts are great story tellers; piecing together tales of births, deaths and marriages, these quilts witness many a moving story as they are passed from generation to generation.

The Pioneer Women's Hut has worked closely with the National Quilt Register which records and protects both quilt making techniques and the stories about those quilts. The three on display here are from three generations of women in the same family and their representations of the same quilt pattern. It's called Log Cabin and the square in the centre always represents the hearth and heart of home.

On the same site as the museum is Glenroy Cottage Crafts, a little shop selling locally made products, including jams and pickles, knitted wares, jewellery and the very amusing garden critters made from recycled materials. Free plunger coffee and excellent home-made biscuits are available at a small charge.

So, expectations met and surpassed. This is one museum that M&G NSW will revisit.

In this article

The Pioneer Women's Hut

Snowy Mountains

Museums & Galleries of NSW helps museums, galleries and Aboriginal cultural centres of NSW create exciting and inspiring experiences for visitors and strong, thriving local communities. We develop their skills, connect them with others in the industry, provide funding, point visitors their way, and give them access to ground-breaking exhibitions.

Museums & Galleries of NSW is supported by the NSW Government through Create NSW.

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