Alternative Name(s): Needlework, Sampler

Sample of sewing on double mesh needlepoint canvas, worked in blue, red and yellow wool.

The needlework was made by 'junior teacher' Margery Lawrey, then aged 18. She had been a student at Kinglake Central School and later was one of few girls at Melbourne High School. Having completed her Leaving Certificate, she answered an advertisement for junior teachers and in 1926 was appointed a junior teacher at Reservoir State School, Melbourne. The quality of her work was checked by an examiner (or school inspector), as this sewing sample indicates. The Victorian Government's junior teachers scheme allowed the appointment of teachers 'possessing the leaving certificate' who 'may, after one year's service, enter the Teachers' College, from which, after one year's training, they may be appointed to classified positions, carrying salaries of £192 to £204 per annum for males, and £156 to £208 per annum for females...' (The Argus, 4 Jun 1926).

When Margery had completed her year as a junior teacher she entered the new teachers' training college at Ballarat (colleges also operated in Bendigo and Melbourne). When she had completed the course she went to work at a school in Earlston, near Benalla in northern Victoria. She soon married the brother of two of her students. Margery was able to use the skills she had learned at school and as a trainee teacher when raising her family, making and mending clothes for her daughters. Like her mother, she could also crochet and tat beautifully. She did not manage to pass her skills onto her daughter Ann, to her regret.

Margery was born in 1908 and grew up at 'The Uplands' homestead in the Kinglake area, built by her parents Elizabeth and John Lawrey in the late 1890s. 'The Uplands' was well known locally and was often used by the Kinglake community as a meeting place for special events, celebrations and sporting activities.The house was one of two on this site on the Whittlesea-Kinglake Road in Kinglake that were destroyed in the Black Saturday bushfires on 7 February 2009. The chimney from 'The Uplands' was collected as part of the Victorian Bushfires Collection and installed in the Forest Gallery at Melbourne Museum, to commemorate the history of bushfires in Victoria.

Physical Description

Sample of sewing on cream-coloured double mesh or penelope needlepoint canvas (ie. pairs of threads in warp and weft). The sample has been worked with blue, red and yellow wool in concentric patterns around the edges. A diamond shape has been created in the centre using running stitch. Two brown circles have been worked within this shape.

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