The Changi quilts were created by women interned by the Japanese in Changi Prison.

When Singapore fell on 15 February 1942, 400 women and children were interned. The quilts were the idea of Mrs Ethel Mulvany. Supposedly made for the wounded in Changi hospitals, the quilts were actually meant to relieve boredom, to boost morale, and to pass information to other camps. Three quilts were made, one each for the Red Cross organisations of Britain, Australia and Japan.

Each woman was asked to put “something of herself” into the square, together with her signature. The meanings of many of the personal messages on the quilts are now lost.

The work of nine known Australian women is represented in the Australian quilt:

  • Miss Sheila Allen
  • Judy Good (nurse)
  • Helen Latta (nurse)
  • Dr Margaret Smallwood
  • Mrs Vera McIntyre
  • Mrs Betsey Millard
  • Miss Betsy Nea Barnes
  • Mrs Alice May Watson
  • Mrs Eunice Austin-Hofer (also spelt Austen-Hofer)

The Australian War Memorial holds the Australian and Japanese Changi quilts.

Quilt made by female internees at Changi
AWM REL/14235

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