History of WAQA

In June 1976, the York Society ran a residential workshop at Faversham House in York on patchwork. The theme for that year’s main exhibition at the York Fair was inspired by the American Bicentennial, which saw the rekindling of interest in patchwork quilts.

During that workshop, at which the late Penny Whitchurch tutored, a hexagon quilt was started, amongst others. It was hoped to get it to the stage of putting in a frame for demonstrating quilting at the exhibition – this necessitated a further sewing day in late July or early August.

This day was destined to lead to the formation of the Association. Again, some ladies met in York, this time in a dilapidated store front on Avon Terrace. They all enjoyed the day so much they decided to meet again and form a sewing group.

They met in the home of Maryllis Green-Armitage (who became the first President) on 23 August 1976. Eleven people attended: there were two apologies.

They decided to call themselves the West Australian Quilters’ Association and meet once a month. Their aim was to advance the craft of patchworking and quilting in WA and other states, to provide information, knowledge and shared experience of the craft and to arrange exhibitions. Annual subscription: $7.50 and, as far as it is known, it was the first such organization in Australia.

Meetings continued to be held firstly in the CWA Craft room in West Perth. The membership doubled to 30 and a Constitution was drawn up and finalized by October 1981 – the Association became Incorporated and a logo was adopted as the result of a competition.

(Extract taken from “Our First Ten Years”, written by Maryllis Green-Armytage. Written in 1986 & revised in 2001). Full article available for reading in the Association Library.