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The History Of The Embroiderers' Guild Qld. Inc 1968 - 2012
20 Dec 2012
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The Guild commenced in 1964 with four Queensland members of The Embroiderers’ Guild of New South Wales who began meeting monthly in member's homes. Four years later, in 1968 about 30 people became The Embroiderers’ Guild Qld. By the end of the year membership had risen to 99. Meetings were held monthly at Windsor Avenue, Lutwyche. In that year we welcomed our first visiting Tutor, Pat Langford, from Sydney. We have branches in Toowoomba, began in 1969; Southport in 1972; Gladstone in 1983; Wallace House at Noosa in 1983; Rockhampton in 1987; Sunshine Coast in 1995 and Capricorn Coast in 1995. The first large exhibition in Brisbane was held in 1974. It was a large and exciting exhibition of Embroideries and Quilts. Large exhibitions are held biennially; smaller displays, talks and demonstrations are on-going activities. Fund raising for a central meeting place was always high on the agenda and the earlier members of the Guild worked extraordinarily hard to this end and by July 1983 had raised $24,866.41. A capital grant from Queensland Treasury enabled the purchase and basic renovation of the building (the grant was for 50% of this cost). The Utah Foundation gave grants for floor covering and furniture. At an extra-ordinary General Meeting held on 9th June 1983, the Guild commenced negotiations to purchase the Masonic Temple, situated at 149 Brunswick Street, Fortitude Valley. This building was originally erected by Lodge Tullibardine, No. 227 in 1922. The Architect employed by the Freemasons was Mr. T.B.M. Wightman A.R.I.B.A., and the contractors were Messrs Mac-Arthur and Walker. On Saturday 27th May 1922, a memorial stone was laid by the Past Grand Master and can still be seen in the wall at the entrance of the building. A sealed leaden casket containing daily papers, coins of the Realm, Masonic Journals and the history of Lodge Tullibardine was inserted beneath the stone. The attractive two-storied building comprises a handsomely decorated lodge room with the necessary auxiliaries in the upper floor and a banquet and harmony hall on the ground floor fronted by a shop. An awning was erected across the pavement for the protection to both the Lodge entrance and the shop. The wooden doors to the right of the building are all that remains of the shop. The awning and shop were demolished well before the Guild purchased the property. The Assembly or banquet hall on the lower floor is 16mts x 7mts, with a platform at the western end behind which is the kitchen and dressing room for use when the lower floor is let for dinners, dances, or social gatherings. The Lodge room on the upper floor is 16mtrs x 10mtrs – with reception, robbing room, platform at the western end and other facilities. The walls of both rooms were lined with reasonably comfortable timber benches with storage underneath. These have proved to be very useful to the Guild; likewise the long cupboards in the robing room provide storage for The Collection . The small kitchen has recently been renovated and the robing room and kitchen are now used for morning teas etc. at Craft Fairs and Exhibitions. At the time of purchase the 61 year old building had been vacant for some time and was in a poor state of repair. 1984 was a year of renovations before moving in and on Saturday 20th April 1985 our Official Opening and Exhibition were held. The building was paid for in mid 1989, a fact of which we are very proud. Our historic building is now a recognized Heritage Building in the Fortitude Valley Brisbane City Council Heritage Prescient. For the Australian Bi-Centenary Year (1988), our Guild Members completed the Queensland section of the Parliament House Embroidery which is housed in the New Parliament House, Canberra. In 1993 Miss Mabel McAlister, a founding member and our first President, was awarded the Order of Australia for service to The Embroiderers’ Guild Qld. During the past 10 years we have been financially assisted with State Government, Brisbane City Council grants; Community Benefit and Jupiter’s Casino Funds to maintain the building to historic standards. The Building with its very high ceilings, high windows and extensive wall space is ideal for the display of embroideries without them being exposed to excessive sunlight. The kitchen and dressing room on the lower level has been renovated. The kitchen’s original tessellated flooring has been renovated and the platform and side seating in the main area removed. An extensive collection of antique and modern needlework is continually being catalogued. Pieces are exhibited on a regular basis in our display cases. The Guild has been presented with a Community Heritage grant from Canberra to enable the Guild to have our collection assessed and recognized as a Nationally Significant Collection. There is a yearly competition for the Acquisition of Embroidery open to the members of the Guild. These are permanently housed in custom built display cases. The Guild has a library with an extensive collection of books and magazines on all facets of embroidery and patchwork. Over 2,000 items are catalogued in our library. Craft Fairs are held each April and November and attract many visitors to our headquarters. Children’s classes for young Creative Embroiderers are held during most vacations and are extremely popular. The Guild is involved in a number of both inside and outside activities where members demonstrate and speak about their work. The “Essential Embroidery Skills” Course provides interested members with a structural programme in various types of embroidery. Classes within the Guild are held regularly with in-house Tutors or visiting local, interstate or overseas Tutors. Classes have included:- Crewel Work, Mountmellick Embroidery, Stump Work, Gold Work, Hardanger, Casalguidi, Pulled Thread, Candlewicking, Black Work, Canvas Work, Elizabethan, Wool Embroidery, Shadow Work, Richelieu, Creative Embroidery, Ribbon Embroidery, Counted Thread, Ayrshire, Brazilian, Appliqué, Smocking, Needle Lace, Madeira, Bead Work, Machine Embroidery, Design and many other forms of embroidery. Each year an “Embroiderer of the Year” is selected by members for out-standing service. A newsletter is published 11 times a year and various interested groups meet on a regular basis. These provide fellowship in embroidery for experts and beginners of all ages. Presently there are more than six hundred members throughout Queensland, who give a solid foundation for the future and our Guild is thriving. We are very grateful to the foresight of our early members and their brave commitment to the purchase of this property, which not only is ideal for our needs, but has allowed us to participate in all the all important task of bringing to life this lovely old building, not only with our creative work, but the laughter and companionship that goes with it.

This story was written by one of our founding Members. Mrs Joan Selnes, who is a life member and and our Historian, Curator and the founder of our collection, which is called "The Embroiderers' Guild Qld. Collection Curators

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