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  • Writer's pictureThe Beagle

Worldwide #bushfireblocks quilts on display in Moruya


Beautiful quilts lovingly handcrafted by people around the world for those impacted by the Black Summer bushfires are on display at an exhibition in Moruya.

Shortly after the fires, the Wollongong Modern Quilt Guild asked the quilting community to make tree-themed patchwork squares to sew into quilts for people who lost their homes. They received more than 15,000 squares, from 36 countries, which were sewn into 877 quilts to distribute to bushfire-affected communities.

The tree theme is based on the ideal that trees symbolise life and regeneration, with their roots providing strength and stability. Not only will the recipients appreciate their quilt’s warmth, it’s hoped they will also feel the love sewn into each stitch from people who care.

The Eurobodalla Bushfire Recovery Support Service arranged the exhibition in partnership with the Guild. About 30 quilts are on display, following which 100 or so will be gifted to registered clients. Words from some clients expressing thoughts on their recovery are displayed in the exhibition.

In opening the exhibition on Monday, an emotional Eurobodalla Mayor Mathew Hatcher said the project was a heartfelt way to show that people cared, and it would bring comfort to many.

“Two years on from the fires, the recovery journey for many is still difficult and slow,” he said.

“These quilts come with a message from the quilters, you are not alone and you matter.”

Guild member and one of the three women who started the project, Rachael Letham, said it was the result of friends watching the coverage of the fires and feeling helpless. Ms Letham said they did “all the normal things”, like donate food, clothes and wraps for bats, but it did not feel enough.

Little did they know their call for patchwork squares would rally a worldwide community into action.

“We were just blown away. It’s been a massive community effort,” she said.

“We got to work with our Australian quilting community to help us put these all together and used our network of family and friends to courier it all over the country.”

The Moruya exhibition is the first and only time the quilts will be on display. In a Facebook post about the event posted by the Guild last week, quilters from around the world expressed how proud they were to have participated. “We were so pleased to make blocks in our quilting club, something useful to do to help after the terrible fires,” said one. “We who made blocks did the easy part,” said another.

“My (quilting group) in Greensboro North Carolina thanks you. We enjoyed being able to participate and help our fellow friends in Australia.”

The Quilts for Australia, Bushfire Blocks 2020 exhibition will be held at the Mechanics Institute on Page Street, Moruya, from Monday 14 March to Thursday 31 March, from 9am to 4pm, Monday to Friday, and on Saturday 19 March, 10am–2pm.

Two case managers will be based at the exhibition throughout, and clients are encouraged to pop in and say hello.



Above: Eurobodalla Bushfire Recovery Support Service coordinator Jane Moxon, Eurobodalla Council’s community, arts and recreation director Kathy Arthur, Eurobodalla Mayor Mathew Hatcher, bushfire-impacted resident Chris Kowal, and the Wollongong Modern Quilt Guild’s Rachael Letham and Sally Turner at the officially opening of the bushfire blocks exhibition on Monday.

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