Museum of the Riverina
Wagga Wagga, NSW, Australia
Ruby Florence Beatrice Sergent (née Gregory) was born at Queanbeyan, NSW in 1889. In 1928 she married farmer Kenneth William Sargent, and the couple settled at Binalong, on a property called Rocklea. There, they lived in a two-room pisé cottage, and it was here that Beatrice made this domestic wagga, sometime shortly after her marriage. The rug is made from recycled wool blankets which were then stuffed with chicken feathers and raw fleece.
At some later stage, one of William's flannel shirts was added to the rug, most probably to patch a hole, or a section that may have become threadbare. The garment appears to have just been cut in two and applied with rather rough stitching to the blanket. Even the manufacturer's tag, 'Top Dog' was left in place.
The wagga was donated to the Museum of the Riverina by one of Beatrice's nephews, Arthur. His brother, Roy, has fond memories of staying with his aunt and uncle at Rocklea and sleeping under this rug on the iron bed in the wash house. It kept him very warm on cold nights.
This wagga is made from old grey woollen blankets, which have been machine stitched together to form a weighty rug for sleeping under on the cold nights in a basic farmer's cottage. The rug appears to have been insulated using whatever was at hand, most noticeably chicken feathers and raw fleece, but neither in great quantities. The outline of William's Top Dog short-sleeved fleece is conspicuous, as are a number of patches that were added later, most probably to cover holes. The stitches used to attach these pieces are large and crude, perhaps indicating that they weren't done by Beatrice herself.