Rehabilitation beadwork necklace : Private W Kearsey, 33 Battalion, AIF

Accession Number REL46538
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Heraldry
Maker Kearsey, William
Place made Australia: South Australia
Date made c 1921
Conflict Period 1920-1929

Loom woven beaded necklace. The necklace is woven as a narrow band joining at the lower front to form a flat pointed tasseled pendant. The necklace is constructed from cotton thread and glass seed beads. The beads are in four shades, mauve, pale green, cerise pink and silver. The narrow band that makes the length of the necklace is 12 beads wide and is patterned with a simple flower and leaf design in pink and green on a mauve background. Evenly spaced along the necklace are four sets of stranded beads with a small 10 x 5 bead panel in the centre. The stranded beads are in sets of six strands to both sides of the smaller panel. The strands are coloured 6 pink, 6 silver, 6 green, 6 silver and 6 pink. This numbering is reflected in the colours set in the tassels. Where the two narrow bands meet at the front they form a flat pendant 46 rows deep and 26 beads wide. The pendant ends in a flat point 8 rows deep and tapering to 5 beads wide. There are ten bullion tassels attached to the lower point. The tassels have the original 25 beads as for the strands with an additional 12 green beads forming the lower loop.

History / Summary

Private William Kearsey (2341) was a 24 year old coach builder from Inverell when he enlisted in the AIF. When he first attempted to enlist, he was rejected due to poor vision in his left eye. He had this surgically corrected and successfully enlisted in April 1916 with 33 Battalion.

Following a shell explosion in the Ypres area (somewhere between Potsdam and Ypres) on 3 October 1917, Kearsey sustained a deep gash between his eyes, across the bridge of his nose and right cheek. He was admitted to Queen's Hospital in Sidcup, Kent UK, in November 1917 and underwent at least 29 reconstructive operations during the 18 months he spent there.

He left England for Australia on 6 May 1919 aboard the hospital transport ship 'Karoola' and disembarked at Sydney in late June.

This beadwork necklace was loom woven by Kearsey while undergoing further treatment for his facial wounds in South Australia in the early 1920s. It is believed to have been a gift for his sister Amelia.

He was discharged, medically unfit, from the AIF on 14 February 1921.