If the Walls Could Talk

The stone remains of Point King Lighthouse, Albany, sit on the edge of the rocks, only 17 metres above sea level. Between 1858 – 1911, three Lightkeepers and their wives raised 5, 8 and 10 children respectively, in this 4-room house. At this rocky isolated post they were both self-sufficient and resilient. What could the walls tell us of their lives?Silk organza hand dyed with purple carrots, various silks, some recycled, recycled woollen blanket. Machine stitched together; cut away areas revel the layers beneath. Hand stitched marks throughout the piece.

Our family are regular visitors to Albany, Western Australia, staying at Middleton Beach, I walk each morning along the beach to Emu Point, often in blustery and wet conditions. Occasionally I walk along the boardwalk towards the port. One of the paths leads to the stone remains of the Point King Lighthouse. The first time I saw it, there was no signage nor evidence that this was anything other than a very remote house perched on a rock on the edge of the water. On later walks, I discovered the signage “…between 1858 – 1911, three Lightkeepers and their wives raised 5, 8 and 10 children respectively…”. I could only imagine how challenging it would be to raise a large family in a tiny four-room dwelling, in such an isolated and exposed location, and only 17 meters above sea level. I discovered some of the stories of their lives and hardships through articles at the Local History Collection at the Albany Library, including one child being swept off the rock in a king wave, luckily hooked back onto the rock by her father in the next wave!

My most recent visit was on a beautiful sunny winters day, blue skies, and calm waters. My eye was drawn to the rocks, the attempts at conservation in the 1990’s, the stone remains, the weathered markings and the recent graffiti. My thoughts, of the resilience of the women who lived here. “If the Walls Could Talk” was inspired by this layering of time and stories.

This work is on show at Stitched & Bound at Midland Junction Arts Centre 10 Sept – 5 Nov (Wed – Fri 10am – 5pm, Sat 11am – 3pm) Presented by the West Australian Quilters Association (WAQA), Stitched and Bound is a biennial exhibition featuring works by West Australian artists that challenge conventional quilting.

The exhibition will then tour to Lake Grace Artist’s Group Nov 2022, HEART Margaret River Dec – Jan 2023, Katanning Public Art Gallery Feb 2023, Geraldton Regional Gallery March – May 2023, Carnarvon Art Gallery June – July 2023




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