Owner Museum of the Riverina
Location Wagga Wagga, NSW, Australia
Maker Maxwell M. Gillman
Origin new-south-wales
Pattern Domestic Wagga
Date 1900-1939
Dimensions (H x W in cm)


Three generations of the Gillman family worked in the Riverina as tailors between 1883 and 2003.

This wagga rug was made in Wagga Wagga by second-generation master tailor Maxwell M. Gillman. His father, Joseph Gillman taught him the trade. Two of Joseph's three sons, Joseph Jnr. and Maxwell opened their own tailoring shop at 216 Baylis Street, Wagga in 1918. Eighteen months later, Joseph Jnr. decided to start his own business, while Maxwell remained in their Baylis Street store, operating as M.M. Gillman.

Max sewed this wagga for his family in 1934. Ingeniously making use of the fabric swatches inside the tailor's sample books that customers would view and choose their fabric from. According to the Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences (MAAS) in Sydney, who have an almost identical wagga also made by Max, these rugs were also useful as picnic rugs because they didn't pick up grass seeds. Although in Wagga during the Great Depression and World War II, these were more commonly used to keep families warm during the harsh winter months.


This rectangular wagga has been made using large fabric swatches that are a mix of cotton and wool. The colours are very masculine, which makes sense as the fabrics were intended for use in making men's suits. The underside is a very finely pinstriped grey fabric, with a separately sewn border of mustard cotton twill.


Additional information courtesy of the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *