Tablecloth reveals city’s rich history

Callum HunterSouth Western Times
Bunbury Historical Society treasurer Jennifer Lee, historian Pamela Griffiths, president Graham Houghton and member Tyril Houghton run through some of the iconic names on this key historical artefect.
Camera IconBunbury Historical Society treasurer Jennifer Lee, historian Pamela Griffiths, president Graham Houghton and member Tyril Houghton run through some of the iconic names on this key historical artefect. Credit: Callum Hunter

An unique artefact from Bunbury’s history was uncovered last month when a tablecloth embroided with the signatures of many of Bunbury’s key historical figures, including Sir John Forrest, was found.

Discovered by Bunbury Historical Society treasurer Jennifer Lee, the tablecloth in question dates back to 1902 when it was presented as a wedding gift to Edwin Rose and Janet Clarke.

“If one looks at the names, you can almost see the entire history of Bunbury in the names,” society president Graham Houghton said.

“The sorts of names on there include Allnut, Clifton, Davies, Forrest, Heppingstone, Layman, McLarty, Spencer, Timperley... half the roads in Bunbury are named after these people.

“You are literally looking at the early history of Bunbury.”

Mrs Lee stumbled across the tablecloth while logging new items into the King Cottage Museum records and almost immediately recognised its significance which Mr Houghton described as being of a national level.

“I think it’s pretty close to priceless,” Mrs Lee said.

“There are many more items left in those boxes, so we’ll be going through them very soon.”

The cloth is being preserved and is now on display in a protective drawer at King Cottage Museum where it will stay “undercover and can’t be fiddled with by anyone,” according to Mr Houghton.

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