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Information for members and friends regarding the Convict Bonnet Making Project

Conceived by Christina Henri


very special ceremonies are being held to
commemorate our female convict grandmothers

The photos below were taken at the Blessing of the Bonnets Service
held at the Church of St Peter & St Paul in South Melbourne
on Saturday 2nd MAY 2009

Read about the Melbourne event

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Email Christina Henri

Want a bonnet pattern?

Email Kaye and she will send you one

The aim of Christina Henri’s project is to commemorate convict woman.
Up until now these women have been shunned by society as a shame. someone to be hidden when in actual fact they were the backbone of modern Australian society.
To represent the women Ms Henri is asking for 25,566 cloth bonnets to be made. A big ask but already over 13,000 have been completed.
When the full number of bonnets is received they will be displayed in Perspex boxes equaling the number of ships these women came to Australia on.
The aim of this is to use the bonnets to empathise just how vast a number 25,566 women were. The venue will be the Cascades Female Factory site in Hobart.


Members of Mid Gippsland Family History Society have sent in over 40 bonnets to become part of Christina Henri’s Collection.

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Christina is most grateful for these bonnet tributes. There are still many more needed, so please keep sewing.

Already a large number of ceremonies have been held around Australia with more to come before the last bonnet is received.

Information from the Geelong event held in 2007

During the 19th Century over 18,000 convicts, many of them women, came ashore at Point Henry and from there settled throughout the Port Phillip District and beyond. These convict women mainly transported to Australia for minor offences, such as stealing a loaf of bread or a cheap trinket, endured primitive conditions as they struggled to establish a new life. To acknowledge the contribution made by these women to the economic and social life of the Colony an event will take place following the sentencing re-enactment entitled

Blessing of the Bonnets

Tasmanian artist Christina Henri has conceived a project called Roses from the Heart™ and the ‘Blessing of the Bonnets’ ceremony is a part of this project. Various groups and individuals around Victoria have made Bonnets each embroidered with the name of a convict woman and the name of the maker. These bonnets will be placed in a wooden dinghy and blessed by a local female clergy. They will be packed and freighted to Hobart to join other Bonnets made throughout Australia and further a field globally. Christina Henri the conceiver/founder/organizer of this project will co- ordinate the display of all bonnets made by participants world-wide. After travelling overseas during 2011 and 2012 the 25,566 bonnet project will become a permanent installation when the full 25,566 bonnets have been received.


Continuing plans include:

To hold a similar event to the Memorial of the Bonnets event that was held in Parramatta, NSW - (10th April, 2008) in Windsor, NSW as so many people have a connection to Windsor

A second Blessing of the Bonnets event in Geelong.
The original event had over 400 people attending on a 39 Degree day.
The bonnets, over 1200 received are on display in a cell at the historic Geelong Gaol. The next 'Blessing of the Bonnets' event should be sometime in 2009 ?May
(Date yet to be determined).

In Adelaide the Blessing of the Bonnets will be included as part of Country Bumpkins, 'Beating Around the Bush' International Embroiders Conference October 2009.
All who would like to attend are invited.
Christina will have more on her website once she knows the exact day and time.

In WA there will be an event as part of the Nannup Folk Festival in March 2009
Christina is hoping to hold a Blessing of the Bonnets Event in Fremantle at the Historic Goal 8th March 2009.

Interest has been shown from the UK/Ireland and Canada, especially Nova Scotia for visits from Christina and her display in 2010/2011.
Also the UK the Channel Islands, especially Jersey are showing considerable interest.

The more the project is promoted the sooner ALL the bonnets will be made.
The eventual outcome will be a permanent public art display.
Christina suspects this will be in 2013.
In 2010, before taking the bonnets overseas, she aims to have them on display in the Great Hall of Parliament, Canberra.
The plan is that the work will be viewed by walking above the Hall and looking down from the upstairs balconies onto the bonnets that will be sitting together on the floor of the Hall, appearing as the heads of the convict women.
It should look as though one is above the women themselves. This will be videoed and used as part of any further exhibitions.
To achieve this Christina needs to attract sponsorship as the cost to hire the Great Hall will be around $28,000.
The exposure this would bring any Company will be enormous.
5 days of the bonnets representing the convict women, taking centre stage in our National Parliament will be a most stunning installation and attract major media attention.