Alternative Name(s): Wall Hanging

Quilt created by newly arrived refugee children at Tottenham English Language Centre in Victoria during December 1998 as a way for them to express themselves. The children who created this quilt had arrived from Somalia, former Yugoslavia, South America and Vietnam during the previous six months.

In an article published in the 'Age' newspaper around the time the quilt was mande, Kerry Taylor wrote: 'With material and thread they sewed their hopes for the future. With every stitch they shared their past. During the past month, on hot summer weekends, 13 students from Tottenham English Language Centre gathered at their teacher's house to make a quilt depicting their stories. They have come from war-ravaged Somalia, the former Yugoslavia, South America and Vietnam in the past six months to start a new life in Australia. Some are separated from their families; all face the challenge of a new language and society.

In a sense their quilt is a patchwork of dreams for the future. It will be displayed during next year's Moomba festival. In the long hours of sewing, the group shared their experiences - of refugee camps, losing parents and remembering home. ``We talked about our past and who and what we left behind," said Ms Kelly Juriansz, the students' English teacher, when the quilt was presented yesterday to the federal Immigration Minister, Mr Phillip Ruddock. ``We realised how much we actually shared. We had similar goals and visions for the future, both for ourselves and Australia."

Each chose a theme for the future and designed his or her own square on the quilt. Fahan Ahmed, 17, sewed the phrase ``Living in Peace" on her square. She had fled Somalia with her brother two months earlier, leaving their family behind. A big red heart is emblazoned on Lam Hua's square. She has been in Australia for three months and misses her mother in Vietnam. ``We did it with our love. That is why I chose to do this ... we became like a family when we made this," she said.'
The Age Wednesday December 23, 1998

Physical Description

Quilt made principally from cotton with satin borders and dividers which define the patches. The various patches depict scenes of future hopes of the children involved. Also two wooden rods which slide into the top and bottom of the quilt for hanging.


This quilt represents both the commonality and diversity of Australian society, in terms of the diversity of cultures and experiences of the child producers as well as the commonality of their hopes for the future and their joint situation of displacement and a common desire to communicate their optimism. It reveals that the children perceived Australia in a positive way, as offering new opportunities and freedoms not possible in their countries of origin. While the quilt is not used as a vehicle to present cultural difference, it instead presents universal themes of freedom, tolerance, ambition, community and security.

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