MEROOGAL - THE WOMEN'S HISTORY PLACE
Located in the NSW South Coast town of Nowra, Meroogal was built in 1885 and is a charming testament to early days and early ways.
Meroogal is a house that was greatly cherished by its owners. It has passed through the hands of four generations of women from the Thorburn family. This family, well known in Nowra, held no major or obvious place in our history but their house and its collection are important and irreplaceable documents of social history.
The women lead busy and fulfilled lives with their daily routines encompassing domestic chores and the pursuit of their own genteel interests and talents. These pursuits have left indelible marks on the house. The patterns of living first laid down in the 1880s and 1890s were to be repeated by each generation. Furniture, household objects, diaries, letters, scrapbooks, photographs and even clothes have remained at Meroogal allowing visitors a very personal insight into the private world of this family.
It is unusual for a house to be occupied by the same family for such a length of time, even in rural areas. For it to be by continuing generations of women is even more unusual. The way in which these women used the house, cared for and altered the fabric of the building is still apparent and provides insights into their characters and circumstances.
The Meroogal women’s arts prize is a regional, non-acquisitive competition and exhibition across the fields of visual arts, crafts and design. It is open to a work using any media made by a woman 18 years or over whose principal residence is in the local government areas of Shoalhaven, Wollongong, Shellharbour, Kiama, Eurobodalla, Bega Valley, Wingecarribee or Wollondilly. Diverse and original uses of media are a signature of this annual exhibition, which encourages the practise of traditional women's arts and crafts in a contemporary context. The theme of the prize, which varies each year, establishes a direct connection to Meroogal and the women who lived there as well as acting as a springboard for artistic imagination.
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