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Auntie Green’s Quilt

  • Owner:
    Mavis Roberts
  • Location:
    Wodonga VIC Australia
  • Maker:
    Mary Anne Wellen (Auntie Green)
  • Pattern:
  • Pattern:
  • Pattern:
  • Dimensions:
    Height: 245
    Width: 227


Made by Auntie Green 1860-1870 for Annie (Mrs Kirby) who travelled to New Zealand to be married around 1870-1880. Annie Kirby (1856-1954) later gave the quilt to her niece Mabel Williams (1884-1976) who gave it to her daughter Mavis Roberts.

"… Aunt Annie was my Mother's real aunt and my great aunt, maybe a small portion of the family tree would help Annie & Ada were sisters Ada my mother's mother Mabel Mabel My Mother Mavis I have a studio photo of Aunt Annie as a woman of about 40 taken when I know not, maybe when I locate it again in 'the box', it may reveal more detail, also in the same box are very early photos of A.Annie taken with the family when she visited us in 1922 (I am just a baby in arms) but like all these photos my mother was always behind the camera and as she developed and printed them herself they have faded very badly (there was no professional 'Rabbit' or the like places to take your films, anyway they were all on glass plates in those days) last time I looked at these they were very faint. I also have a photo of A.Annie taken at some party could have been for the coronation of our present queen, she and her young brother both have on party hats, their ages would have been about 93 and 81 she kept house for this brother till her death. I have very little information about her time in New Zealand, although I think there are N.Z. postcards in same box but I don't think it is her writing I would have to recheck them. ………." "I do not know if you are interested in all the following detail but it does give an insight into the travels of some of the old quilts. From family passed down knowledge I understand the Quilt was made by Auntie Green just who she was I do not know but my mother (1884-1976) remembers a black silhouette in a frame on the mantlpiece that she was told as a child was Auntie Green, who gave it - the quilt - to Mrs Kirby (Auntie Annie 1856-1954) when she went to New Zealand to be married, she travelled in a Windjammer round the Horn about 1870-1880. When her husband died Mrs Kirby returned to England bringing the quilt with her, not sure how she travelled this time but in herlife did 3 trips around the world, after a while in England she then went to USA to stay with her sister (not sure if the quilt went or stayed in England) she then returned to England. In 1922 she came to visit us in Aust. And revisit New Zealand, while with us my mother asked did she remember a quilt her mother was making (Mother left England to come to Aust. In 1915) her mother had died in 1921. Aunt Annie said she didn't know of that one but she had one Auntie Green had made her when she left to be married in New Zealand and she would send it to Mother. I can remember a few years later that the quilt was on its way and was expecting great things and was very disappointed when I saw it. It was displayed in a few Antique shows at Red Cross displays or CWA shows and the like in Bairnsdale, it started to show a few spots that had to be repaired and while my Mother was a fine needlewoman found it very hard to mend as the pieces were appliqued on with just the edge whipped under to make a small hem then finely stitched how it was originally made with almost no lighting except candles or rush lights is rather marvellous tribute to the ladies of that era. When my Mother died in 1976 aged 92 the quilt in the old box went to my sister's place and on her death still in the old box came to me where it stayed undisturbed until I mentioned it to Richard Heathcote at Ripponlea when they had a quilt display on there and he asked could it be put on show there and he found an old iron bed of a similar vintage to display it. Auntie Green made the quilt 1860-1870 Auntie Annie (Mrs Kirby) took it to New Zealand 1870-1880 (1865-1954) My Mother (Mrs Williams) 1884-1976 Me (Mrs Roberts) [born]1921."
[Extract, letter from Mavis Roberts 30 July 1996]


Wholecloth quilt, with appliqué patterns in printed coloured cottons, of a central flower basket in an oval leaf border, appliquéd leaf and flower branches, a twisted cable border, wider band of leaf and flower branches, and a final border of applique Greek key motif. The base material is linen or similar with all applique very finely hand sewn. As the quilt grew the background material has been extended with tiny hand stitches.

2450 x 2270 mm

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