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Henty Centenary Show Quilt

The Quote that turned into a Quilt

Early in March 2001, I heard John Anderson, the Deputy P.M., discussing Country Shows on the John Laws radio programme.

He spoke about the insurance problems many small towns were faced with, pointing out that this was the reason why many Country Shows were folding.  One of Mr. Anderson comments was that “Country Shows are the fabric of Country Towns”. Being in total agreement with this statement I thought that perhaps this quote could be used by the Henty Show Society one day and so the idea of the “Centenary Show Quilt” took form.

Letters were sent to every Group/Organisation in Henty inviting them to become part of the project by making a “block” which would then be pieced together to form a Quilt.  When some of the replies that came back were, “Would you like a block of cheese?”, “a block of wood?”, and even “a block of land?”, I came to realise what a mammoth task this would be.

 - And so the project began!

After many weeks were spent designing the Quilt the fifty three organisations participating were each sent an identical piece of fabric, thereby maintaining equality and uniformity.

The fabric chosen was Quilters Muslin purchased from Maureen Bradbury at Canterbury Patchwork & Sewing Centre, Albury. Maureen cut and overlocked each piece of fabric free of charge and this saved quite a considerable lot of time.

The Show Society Centrepiece, incorporating the Headlie Taylor Header as the main feature, was made four times larger than the other blocks.

Three months later the blocks were collected. They were all different and of a very high standard.  I took photos of each individual block, cut them all to the same size and proceeded to sew false borders on those blocks that were too small due to them being pulled in by machine embroidery. Then all the furniture was moved from the “Whitlocks” dining room to allow space to place the blocks so the Quilt could be “balanced”.

Many weeks were spent sashing the blocks together. The colour chosen for the sashings are that of the champion show ribbon and the borders around the Quilt are the colours of our first, second & third ribbons.  The Quilt was then taken to Susan Campbell at Yackandandah to be professionally quilted.  We were told she was the best in Australia and we weren’t disappointed.

After the Quilt was completed another two blocks were added to the back of the Quilt. There is still plenty of room on the back if any other organisations wish to be represented.

This huge project took over 17 months to complete. Of course with a project as big as this there were always going to be a few problems, however it was extremely satisfying to see it all come to fruition.

Many of the blocks have interesting stories behind them. Consequently ,I decided to record these stories for the benefit of future generations.

The Show Society is extremely grateful to Mrs. Irene Pertzel for all her help and involvement in the Quilt project. It could never have been completed without her encouragement and inspiration.

The Quilt has exceeded all the Show Society’s expectations. The Groups/Organisations who have provided blocks for the Quilt can be justifiably proud of their efforts.

We hope the community derives much pleasure from it now and long into the future.

Jan Whitlock