Transportation of Women to Australia
In the 1840s and 1850s when women were sentenced to transportation to Australia for petty crimes, they were initially imprisoned in Newgate Prison, London, and shown how to sew quilts by Elizabeth Fry and her social reform group. This was so that they could occupy themselves on the 5 to 6 month sea journey to their new home. It was hoped that sewing would alleviate some of the torment they suffered as they were taken from their families, many from their children.
I have tried to create a quilt painting to remind us of this journey to a strange land and unknown future. These women were the founding women of Australia. Needles, threads, and small pieces of fabric were provided to each woman by the reformers.