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  • Writer's pictureSim Luttin


100 stories of great Australian women past to present - 100 brooches made in response by 100 of Australia's most talented women jewellers. This touring exhibition curated by Kirsten Fitzpatrick, is currently showing at JamFactory: Design and Craftsmanship in Adelaide, SA from 23 February - 5 April 2012.

While I didn't make it over for the opening I have many friends, admittedly mostly jewellery or craft folk, who did. From the pics posted on Facebook it looks like the night was a huge success and that the main gallery is packed form wall-to-wall with beautiful jewellery objects (which is what I like to see!).

For this Australia-wide project, I was paired with Mary Reibey who is featured on our $20 note. As I began to research her, I became intrigued by her courageous story.

Mary was a convict sent to Sydney from England to Australia by ship onThe Royal Admiral after posing as a boy and stealing a horse at age 13. Mary married at a young age and after her husbands untimely death, went on to become one of the most successful business owners in the Colony. It is thought that her business dealings contributed to the foundation of the Bank of New South Wales (now Westpac), in which Mary eventually became a major shareholder.

Mary Reibey was a woman who achieved great things as a businesswoman, mother, partner, and entrepreneur, in a time where issues class, gender and politics were shaping the foundation of a new society. Mary Reibey’s life and achievements greatly inspired me as I created this brooch.


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