The Dunera Boys

We are delighted to announce that ‘The Dunera Boys’ tapestry panel, which has been worked on tirelessly by our embroiderers for a number of years, has finally been completed. We have found a willing volunteer to transport this safely to join the ‘Australian Quaker Tapestry’, hopefully in 2022 – flights permitting!

Dunera Boys
Janet Embroidering the Dunera Panel

The Dunera Boys panel was embroidered by a group of volunteers including our outgoing General Manager, Bridget Guest. The embroidery began in April 2017 by our embroidery group called the PHDs (Projects Half Done) and the finished panel will now join the twenty-three panels of the ‘Australian Quaker Tapestry’ completed so far.

Throughout the intervening period, the embroiderers worked on The Dunera Boys in our embroidery area of the exhibition, intermittently pausing their work to chat to interested visitors.

Australian Quaker Tapestry

The idea of an ‘Australian Quaker Tapestry’ was first mentioned in 2005, when Verley Kelliher, an Australian member of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), visited the Quaker Tapestry Centre in Kendal and subsequently had the idea of starting the Australian Narrative Embroidery Project, (known informally as the ‘Australian Quaker Tapestry’).

Then in 2007 the project committee brought Bridget Guest to Australia to hold workshops both in Sydney and at Woodford, New South Wales, where she demonstrated the stitches and the techniques used in the Quaker Tapestry to create narrative embroidery. Following on from the initial workshops, Australian amateur embroiderers from every state and territory have created a number of panels showing Australian Quaker history, from 1770, with the arrival of the first Quaker, Sydney Parkinson, a botanical artist with Captain Cook’s expedition, until the present day.

As the Australian project was inspired by our own Quaker Tapestry, the layout, panel sizes, stitches, and embroidery materials used are similar to the Quaker Tapestry in Kendal, but unlike our tapestries there is no restriction on the colours of the woollen crewel embroidery threads that are used, and Australian wool has been hand woven into an unique background material, which is used for each panel. As the panels are completed, the finished embroideries are mounted and then displayed in Quaker Meetings and other venues around Australia.

Dunera Boys
The Dunera Panel Being Hoovered

Getting it Ready

The panel was vacuumed by volunteers Janet and Roy, which was done through a special net frame to prevent damage and using our special conservation vacuum cleaner. Then the panel was then professionally photographed using lighting and angles to make sure the texture really stood out in 3D and that the silver thread in the sea foam glinted dynamically.

What Next?

Now that the panel has been completed, it will be taken over to Australia in the coming months of 2022. It will be hand delivered by a trustee of the museum to ensure it suffers no damage on the trip. On arrival, it will be added to the other panels that make up the Australian Quaker Tapestry, as well as the nine currently in progress.

We hope you have enjoyed following the progress of The Dunera Boys tapestry panel, from it’s research to its realisation.

Further reading on The Dunera Boys story can be found in our previous blog. Roy Wilcock’s full research can be found here.

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“What an inspiring exhibition!”

J. Samuel – Liverpool