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The Western Australian Fibre and Textile Association

Tides: Swan River Stories was held at Council House in 2019 as part of the National Trust Heritage Festival. Tides explored our much loved Derbarl Yerrigan (Swan River) and how it winds through our past, present and future as a different experience for all the people who live, work or play around it. The exhibition was wide ranging and thought provoking bringing to light some of our much-loved myths, memories and meanings connected to the Derbarl Yerrigan. 

The Western Australian Fibre and Textile Association (WAFTA) was invited for a private tour of Tides to explore the selected works from the City of Perth Cultural Collection to trigger memories associated with the Derbarl Yerrigan.

A City of Perth Cultural Collection highlight on the tour was the Study of Eliza bronze maquette (2009) by Tony and Ben Jones. This striking work was part of the commission process for the iconic public artwork at the old Crawley Baths. 

For fifty years the Crawley Baths was a prominent feature on the foreshore between central Perth and Nedlands. It was opened by Premier John Scadden in 1914 and demolished in 1964 when Beatty Park was constructed for the Commonwealth Games. 

The outcome of the commission was the statue of an athletic female figure with a nostalgic demeanour and costume that is reminiscent of the period in which the baths operated. Popularly known as Eliza, given her proximity to Mt Eliza, she continues to stand poised to dive from a timber platform. The artwork continues to encourage those who pass by to recall the popular recreational facility where thousands of children were taught to swim over the decades.

Although much smaller in scale, the maquette Study of Eliza provoked many WAFTA members to share playful memories of all the past outfits the general public have taken upon themselves to clothe the larger Eliza statue that stands next to the Blue Boat Shed. 

One River. Many Stories features interpretative outcomes by WAFTA members about both the Study of Eliza and the Derbarl Yerrigan. The creations investigate a range of personal stories connected to the wildlife, recreation pursuits and of course, Lady Eliza Darling.  

Visit wafta.com.au to learn more about this dynamic organisation catering to the interests of textile and fibre enthusiasts.

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CITY OF PERTH Cultural Collections


Do you have a Derbarl Yerrigan (Swan River) memory to share? Share your story with the hashtag #onerivermanystories

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