Ladies’ Worktable Book owned by Georgiana McCrae

60 Objects McCrae Collection

This sewing instruction manual belonged to Georgiana McCrae, diarist and artist.

Although published in 1850, it is unknown whether Georgiana McCrae was still living at Arthur’s Seat when she acquired this book.

Despite the family’s contentment at Arthur’s Seat, the shadow of dispossession was ever present.  The land’s mountainous terrain made cattle grazing difficult.  It was better suited to sheep grazing, but Andrew McCrae could not afford them.  He also struggled with the pastoral license and land prices.  After nearly 7 years at Arthur’s Seat, in 1851, the family needed to find a new home. They returned to Melbourne in October 1851

The worktable book is annotated with personal recommendations and guidance, more than likely intended for one of Georgiana’s four daughters.  One page describes how to make bathing costumes, so perhaps the family were still living by the bay, on the Mornington Peninsula?

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