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Monday, 17 August 2009
Page: 8074

Mr BRADBURY (6:44 PM) —I congratulate the dedicated members of the Encore Historical Sewing Group for completing a replica of the famous gown worn in 1822 by Anne Marsden, the daughter of colonial settler the Reverend Samuel Marsden. The group came together in 2005, under the auspices of the St Marys Area Community Development Project, from an idea by local resident Marion McLeod to recreate and display the clothes worn by historically significant individuals responsible for shaping our community. The group’s members are: Barbara Porter, Jane Holmes, Lyn Forde, Mary Gruevski, Joan O’Brien, Caroline Volkiene, Gaye Nyhuis and Marion McLeod, with Colleen Kilgour, Jacqueline Dollack, Jackie White and Jackie Hurlstone joining the group for parts of the project.

The group was supported by the SMACD manager Lisa Foster, who also doubled as the group’s model. With an enormous amount of skill, dedication and more than 100 years of combined sewing and embroidery experience, the group spent more than 3½ years working to produce a gown of the highest quality that remained faithful to the original. Years were spent researching the fabric and the patterns of the lace and reproducing it by hand, piece by piece, and dressing a mannequin—fondly dubbed ‘Our Anne’—with the final product.

The replica gown is a masterpiece, as much for the bonds of friendship that it represents as for the enormous skill that went into its creation. It is permanently on display at Mamre Homestead in a glass cabinet kindly donated by the Penrith City Council.