Crocheted tea tray cloth of the Australian coat of arms

Place Oceania: Australia
Accession Number REL32640
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Heraldry
Physical description Cotton
Maker Unknown
Place made Australia
Date made c 1915-1918
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918

Handmade filet crochet cotton tea tray edged with a cotton fringe. The design worked into the cloth depicts the Australian coat of arms with the words 'ADVANCE AUSTRALIA'. Above the coat of arms is a motif of vine leaves and wattle.

History / Summary

This coat of arms design was one of many patriotic crochet patterns made popular during the First World War. The Ladies Home Journal published a series of these patterns which Australian women could complete to make a variety of household items, such as bedspreads, tray cloths or table cloths. While most surviving examples were made by women in Australia, the donor believes this cloth to have been worked by her uncle Private Leo Cook of 2 Battalion, while he was recuperating from wounds. 3983 Pte Cook enlisted on 25 August 1915 and embarked for overseas service on 30 December that year. Disembarking at Marseilles on 28 March 1916 Cook joined the fighting on the Western Front and suffered a severe gun shot wound to the abdomen during action on 27 July 1916. He arrived at a hospital in York, England on 12 August and was sent home to Australia on 14 January 1917. He spent further time in hospital on his return and would have completed the crochet at this stage. Cook gave the crochet to his fiancée, Miss Elizabeth Roberts, whom he married in 1919.

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