Unfinished sampler featuring motifs including two houses, kettle, birds and flowers. It is one of a group of five early Australian samplers completed by sisters Alice and Eliza Winter in Latrobe Street, Melbourne between 1846 and 1866. It may have been made by Eliza Jane Winter, who was christened on 12 June 1842 and died in 1853, which could explain why the work is unfinished. Her sister Alice Winter was christened in 1857 and lived to old age.

Physical Description

Embroidered sampler in coloured (now faded) cross-stitch threads on an off-white fabric. The design includes floral notifs, two houses, a kettle and birds. The central portion is largely unworked, and includes two small brown stains of unknown substance. The backing fabric is fragile and has some losses.


The significance of the collection of five samplers lies in both their provenance to a single Melbourne family in the mid-19th century and the content of the samplers themselves. The sampler made by Alice Winter at the age of 10 includes her address '172 La Trobe Street Melbourne'. An incomplete sampler, said to have been made by Eliza, includes images of two gabled houses and a black kettle - conceivably depicting her environment in early Melbourne. It is possible that the sampler was never completed as she died in 1853. The samplers contribute to documentation of girls' education and preparation for domestic life in Melbourne in the mid-19th century.

The sampler HT 38903 is particularly interesting as the maker has embroidered random motifs, either documenting her environment or being inspired by other sources. She has moved away from the educational intention of more typical samplers featuring alphabets and repeating mofics, such as the others in the Winter collection.

More Information

  • Collecting Areas

    Childhood, Home & Community

  • Acquisition Information


  • Date Made

    Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 1846-1853

  • Classification

    Art & craft, Needlework, Samplers

  • Category

    History & Technology

  • Discipline


  • Type of item


  • Overall Dimensions

    30.5 cm (Length), 25 cm (Width)

  • References

    London Metropolitan Archives, Saint Luke, Old Street, Register of marriages, P76/LUK, Item 043, accessed via Ancestry 21 Nov 2014 1834 'Shipping Intelligence.', The Sydney Monitor (NSW : 1828 - 1838), 21 May, p. 2 Edition: MORNING, viewed 21 November, 2014, [Link 1] New South Wales, Australia, Unassisted Immigrant Passenger Lists, 1826-1922, accessed 21/11/2014 REO 2013 05 01: [Link 2] Australia Birth Index, 1788-1922 V1835507 19 Family Search web site [Link 3]:/61903/1:1:XTX9-MR3, Indexing Project (Batch) Number:C13544-6 ,System Origin: Australia-ODM ,GS Film number:993954 Accessed via Ancestry 21/11/2014 1885 'Family Notices.', The Australasian (Melbourne, Vic. : 1864 - 1946), 14 November, p. 6 Supplement: THE AUSTRALASIAN SUPPLEMENT, viewed 21 November, 2014, [Link 4]

  • Keywords

    Sewing, Needlework, Embroidery, Education