Guest speaker David Hill and his wife Anne with one of the Paisley shawls from his extensive collection.
Guest speaker David Hill and his wife Anne with one of the Paisley shawls from his extensive collection.

Friends help out library

FRIENDS of Gympie Regional Libraries volunteered more than 3500 hours in labour over the past 12 months, library manager Leonie Day-Wilson told the recent annual general meeting.

Leonie said the Friends had also given the library more than $13,000 to buy books, DVDs and other materials, contributed $1000 to the recent writers’ workshops and provided the trees for National Tree Day.

President Geoff Brown told of the group’s achievements, which helps the library by raising funds and researching in the Local History Room.

In the election of officers, Ronis Birchley took on the role of president and housebound co-ordinator, while Shiela Cook was elected vice-president, Ann Daley secretary and publicity officer, Beth Wilson treasurer, and June Zillmann music convenor.

Guest speaker David Hill, an avid collector of Paisley shawls, fascinated his listeners with the history of the pattern and, with the assistance of his wife Anne, showed some of his collection.

The making of Paisley patterns began in the 1600s in India, where they were hand-worked on to fine goat fleece for shawls and worn as status symbols by princes.

The original pattern was based on a sprig of flowers, gradually becoming more stylised as time passed. The scarves caught the imagination of the European population and, by the late 1700s were being made there. They became rare and expensive objects of art.

The town of Paisley, near Glasgow in Scotland, began manufacturing the material. From there the name of Paisley became widely used. The fashion of wearing a shawl died out in the late 1800s, as a shawl could not be worn comfortably over a lady’s bustle.

One of the shawls shown by David and Anne was a Kirking Shawl, worn traditionally by a bride on the first day she attended church after her marriage. This was a white shawl with intricate Paisley pattern around the edges.

David and Anne began collecting in 1969 and their first shawl was one made in 1810 from silk.

David was thrilled while doing family research to discover his great-grandfather had lived in Paisley in the very lane where the mill stood.

Friends of Gympie Libraries is always looking for new members and the name is an attraction in itself, as the group is very friendly and a pleasure to work with.

Gympie Times


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