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Handmade quilt is one for the ages

30 Mar, 2020

A quilt will become part of Bonegilla Migrant Experience’s history after a group fulfilling "Work for the Dole" requirements donated their handmade item to the national heritage site.

The presentation was a reunion of sorts for past migrant and CVGT activities co-ordinator Chris Assigal who supervised the hands-on activity run by CVGT and Envision Employment Services.

Mr Assigal spent a year at the site after arriving from Germany with his family in 1969.

“This has been a special project, something that is close to my heart,” he said.

He has fond memories of his stay at the camp when he was 10 years old.

“We did a lot of fishing, learned some English and played Aussie rules with other small schools,” he said.

“I enjoy going back every chance I get and whenever visitors from overseas come, I take them for a visit.”

Mr Assigal said it had been rewarding to see the project, funded by the Department of Employment Skills, Small Business and Family, go from a concept to a finished product.

The 2.3m by 3m quilt represents the history of the migrant centre and involved 16 people on rotation to complete the project over six months.

Participants printed more than 1000 photographs and old newspaper clippings to be included on the quilt and narrowed them down to a storyboard.

“The interest from participants was very positive and they attended regularly,” Mr Assigal said.

“We did a lot of research on the migrant camp and took some participants to Bonegilla where they took photos and learnt about the site.

“They had to learn how to sew and one of the participants even went and joined sewing classes afterwards. She has gone on to create quilts of her own that she hopes to sell at markets.”

The quilt will be on display in the Tudor Hall once re-stumping work on the building has been completed.