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1906 Berry Show Signature Quilt


The quilt was made by Miss Ida Lewers, of 'Lyntonstowe', Pulman Street, Berry New South Wales [and] was signed by visitors to the 1906 Berry Show and raffled at the 1907 show. It was won by Master D McIlvride of Berry NSW. It eventually passed to his son Keith, who married Maria Campbell of Gerringong NSW. It was later given to Arthur and Lorna Campbell, then to the Berry Agricultural Society, who gave it, on permanent loan, to the Berry Museum NSW.

"Ida Lewers was unmarried and kept house for her brother Thomas Ross Lewers who was the doctor in Berry until his death, when she left the district. She took an active part in the social life of the town and was one of the founder members of its Red Cross Association. After WWI she worked in the Red Cross shop in Berry which sold handwork made by returned servicemen. Judging by the many delightful postcards she wrote to her little nephews and nieces, which we have, she was an affectionate and fun-loving aunt! I have no information on the uses to which the quilt was put in the McIlvride family. However when it came to us it was badly stained and I think some of the marks were tea-stains, so it may have been used as a table-cloth. … Also in some places the embroidery threads are damaged or missing, so it might at some time have received some wear.

"The 'Berry Lancers', one group who signed the quilt top were part of the 1st Light Horse Regiment which in 1904, had a half squadron or more, probably a troop (approx. 30 men), stationed in Berry.

"At one stage before reaching us, [the quilt] was thrown out in a 'pile of Auntie's old rubbish', from which it was fortunately rescued."

[Elaine Mabbutt, Curator Berry Museum 26 May 1995]


[The quilt] is a plain white linen double bed sheet or bedcover on which have been embroidered (over autographed signatures) the names of members of various associations and clubs, local MPs, visiting dignitaries etc. associated with the Berry Agricultural Show of 1906. There are badges and emblems also embroidered in red or pale gold thread including the central Berry Agricultural Society Association motif surrounded by a wreath of lillipilly leaves and berries, a rebus on the name 'Berry'.

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