Missing tapestry update

Sisters of Charity at the last remaining outer wall of the Factory, 2005.

Hello Gay.  Good to hear from you. As you are probably aware, the Sisters of Charity re-visited the site of the Female Factory in 2005 as part of a special gathering. We unveiled a plaque to commemorate our pioneer Sisters:  “It is here that the first five Sisters ministered to the women convicts with commitment and dedication from 1838 until the Factory’s closure in 1849.” We learned about the Factory’s history and the sad plight of many of the female convicts. It was a very moving experience for us. I’ve attached a photo of the event.

I do remember seeing that piece of applique at St Vincent’s Convent in Potts Point. It actually isn’t very like the original tapestry which in my mind had red in it. My immediate reaction on seeing it was: “it is hideous, I can’t look at it.” As we know, the convict women would have used whatever material they had at hand. It must have been in the late 1970s when I last saw it. I’m afraid it hasn’t turned up in our Archives either.

Kind regards

Sr Moira O’Sullivan, rsc



Filed under Catholic, colonial Sydney, Female Factory, History, Sisters of Charity

3 responses to “Missing tapestry update

  1. Sr Moira,
    How exciting to hear it may still exist somewhere! The last information I knew about was Sr Xavier Williams request. Perhaps it is still in existence somewhere. How exciting that thought is. From the account I read it wasn’t ‘pretty’. But something that would have such a connection to a pioneer nun and the factory women would have its own kind of beauty and if found would be the only known object in Australia made of factory cloth.

    Since I became aware of its existence I have been hoping its tucked away in a draw somewhere just waiting for the right moment to surface.

    Do you remember where at Potts Point you saw it? That would be a start for the journey of discovery. I suppose regardless of whether we find the object we do have the story of the connection between these strong women with heart and a group of women in need of understanding instead of prejudice.

    it is interesting you remember a redness as the factory women’s best sunday jackets were made of a red cloth…..mmm. You have at least moved the mystery forward 160 years! Who knows it may yet be discovered.

    Thanks for sharing .


    • Gay Hendriksen

      Just wondering if there is any news on the tapestry?

      Sr Moira,
      do you remember where you last saw it…perhaps it is a place for us to start looking.


      • Hello Gay
        I don’t know from personal experience that the tapestry [rather too grand a description, surely?] was thrown out. I am just going by my experience of the Sisters and their aesthetic sense, and, sadly, I think it has probably been thrown out.

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