Needlework sampler made by Isabel Buist
The tradition of needlework samplers was well established by the time Australia was colonised in the late 18th century. Europeans brought with them the belief that needlework skills were an important practical and moral part of a girl's education. Accordingly samplers often demonstrated skill through the use within their design of letters, numbers and pictures, and piety with the inclusion of religious or dutiful verses.
The nine year old Isabel Buist incorporated all these elements into her sampler. Like many other young girls, Isabel included her name, age and the place and date of completion, 'Van Dieman's Land April 16 1839'. This information confirms that this is one of the relatively few Australian provenanced samplers from before 1850 that is known to have survived. She also stitched a verse praising God.
Van Diemen's Land