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Published: 03 April 2021

By Andy Ross

Discovering Textiles - Wagga Rugs

Up until the 1960s, Australian men sewed together flour or seed sacks to make warm coverings. 

While quilting is nowadays enjoyed by many, most quilters are women, but some of the earliest examples of the textiles were made by men, recycling sacks through necessity much as women did for the household. The early story of Wagga Rugs is being researched by the National Quilt Register of Australia because the knowledge of the items is rapidly being lost. In this article, Wendy Hucker explains the origin of the textiles and the practical considerations that went into making the patchworks, and makes a plea for their research and preservation, especially for those created by men. 

There is a Wagga Rug in the collection of the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences made by Clare Chamberlain. You can see it here. Another image is on the Textile Research Centre's website here. A geometrically patterned 1920s version is held in the Canowindra Historical Museum's collection.