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Wetland Spiders, A Weaver of Gold and a Wolf

  • Owner:
    National Museum of Australia
  • Location:
    Perth, Western Australia
  • Maker:
    Hilary Arber
  • Pattern:
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  • Dimensions:
    Height: 60
    Width: 40


The Australian golden orb-weaving spider (Nephila edulis) builds a robust permanent trap for its prey in the bush canopies of coastal wetlands spinning golden silk which glistens in the sun. The Yallorr Keeninyarra dance of the Wadjuk Nyungar people “calls on the Spider Spirit to weave a web of strength and togetherness for men gathered for traditional ceremonies". Equally impressive are Wolf spiders who burrow into the ground and have eight eyes two of which light up like mini headlights at night. Both are important controllers of insect populations.

This quilt is part of a 16 piece ‘Noongar Country, Wetland Glimpses’ quilt set made by WA Inspired Art Quilters, a West Australian Quilters’ Association group. The 40cm x 60cm quilts depict aspects of wetlands on the Swan Coastal Plain - swamps, estuaries and rivers, and native plants and animals. Text describes what is depicted on the quilts in terms of relevance to traditional Noongar culture. Noongar people were first custodians of the Swan Coastal Plain.

The quilt set was created in the spirit of reconciliation with the Noongar community, and for educative purposes. Accordingly, the following were carried out.

Noongar consultation in 2018 included

- appraisal by the Shire of Cockburn Aboriginal Reference Group, Perth, June 19
- viewing by Noongar elders at the Western Australian Museum, Albany, July 9, arranged by the Museum
- viewing by Noongar elder women of the City of Perth, August, arranged by the City of Perth


Initially, the quilt set was exhibited, and talks given about them, at the following venues:

- Western Australian Museum, Albany, July 8 - 29, 2018
- City of Perth Library, August 21 - November 19, 2018
- WA Wetland Management Conference, Cockburn Wetlands Centre, February 1, 2019
- Australasian Quilt Convention, Melbourne, April 11 -14, 2019


Materials and techniques: Commercial and hand dyed cotton fabric, polyester basket braid, ribbon braid, florists wire, velvet over poly-wadding, beads, rhinestones, hand dyed muslin, bridal tulle, metallic and cotton thread. Machine appliqué, machine piecing, wash-away embroidery, 3-dimensional padding, buttonhole stitching over wire, hand and machine embellishment, machine quilting, beading.

600 x 400 mm


Extensive research underpins the quilt set including from Noongar oral histories, academic works by indigenous and non-indigenous scholars, Native Title submissions, and early settlers' diaries. Quotations relevant to each quilt are available in a digital booklet.

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