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Heidelberg’s Busy Bee Signature Quilt, 1895-96

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Click on a quilt square to view a close-up of that square, and add your comments

Heidelberg’s Busy Bee Signature Quilt

Did your ancestor sign the Heidelberg quilt?

Almost 140 names are embroidered on this large signature quilt (height: 247 cm; width: 213 cm) as well as dozens of initials, decorations and place-names.

The quilt records the result of fundraising efforts by the Busy Bee group at Heidelberg’s Scots Church.

Contributors lived in various Melbourne suburbs and elsewhere in Victoria. They came from church groups, community organisations, businesses, government and through family and social networks. Many signatories were Presbyterians but some were members of the Church of England. Other Christian denominations may also be represented.

Explore and contribute!

Do you know more about the people, places and organisations represented on the quilt? We are gradually adding the results of our research. Please add your knowledge to ours, by commenting on individual squares.

How was the quilt made?

For a summary of the quilt’s history and a detailed description of the embroidery, fabrics and construction, visit the quilt’s listing with Australia’s National Quilt Register.

Our exhibition of the quilt

The exhibition at our Museum in the Old Heidelberg Court House explores five themes:

The exhibition was shortlisted and commended in the 2019 Victorian Community History Awards.

See the quilt in 2020

To safeguard the health of our visitors and volunteers, the Heidelberg Historical Society Museum and Research Centre is currently closed for an indefinite period from 17 March 2020.

The exhibition has been extended to end November 2020, should the museum resume openings later this year.

A note for the future: Our Museum is located in the Old Heidelberg Court House at the corner of Jika Street and Park Lane, Heidelberg. Opening hours are Sunday afternoons from 2 pm to 5 pm. Admission $5. Members and children under 16 free of charge. When we are able to reopen the Museum, we will update this web-page.

If you have questions about the quilt or the Society’s Museum, please contact Heidelberg Historical Society:


This information and the photographs have been supplied by the Heidelberg Historical Society Inc.

Research into the quilt and its contributors has been conducted by members of the Heidelberg Historical Society, with kind assistance from many others (including descendants of several of the people whose names are on the quilt). The research is ongoing and we welcome help from anyone willing to volunteer their time and expertise.

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Heidelberg Historical Society home page

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