A NEW local component has been added to this year’s Bathurst Macquarie Heritage Medal – the Chifley Heritage Award. The award, which will be announced on May 6 at the Bathurst Macquarie Heritage Medal and Bathurst Regional Heritage Awards dinner, will go to the project that demonstrates the most outstanding contribution to the built, natural or cultural heritage of the Bathurst region. In the weeks leading up to the dinner, the Western Advocate will be profiling several of the nominations.
The Line of Bonnets project is part of the Roses from the Heart project, honouring the nearly 25,000 convict women who were sent to Australia and stayed.
A bonnet is produced for each woman who came to Bathurst, using the same type of skills that those women brought with them.
Each bonnet has the name of a convict woman embroidered on it.
The project has brought women together and formed supportive networks, according to Bathurst Family Group’s Dianne Barnes.
“A Line of Bonnets project has been produced to educate the community on the unknown or forgotten convict women who were assigned to the Bathurst region between 1815 and 1845,” Ms Barnes said.
“These women had no choice in coming to the region, but with their tenacity, courage and artisan skills they contributed to the heritage of Bathurst.
“These women helped build the early Bathurst community using their skills in farm work, food production and brought over 60 trades to the region. These skills are still prized today.”
Members of the Bathurst Family History Group produced hundreds of bonnets.
“Our project reflects the lives of these women and their skills,” Ms Barnes said.
“Bonnets are made out of recycled or basic fabric. Trims generally are bits and pieces from sewing boxes and keepsakes of those who have fashioned them.
“The pattern is a standard 3/4 size servant bonnet and the embellishment is left up to the woman who has taken on the challenge of making the bonnet to honour that woman.”
“The project is about honouring and respecting the rich heritage of the convict women of the region and fosters and encourages support for women, by women in the community. It is an ongoing project with the aim to have a permanent display of bonnets in Bathurst.”