Blessing of the bonnet

11 year old Amelia Burbury Jill Murphy, who created and presented the bonnet

Blessing of the bonnet

JUNE 2016 | Elizabeth Douglass

STUDENTS FROM Our Lady of Mercy Primary School in Deloraine have been given a special connection to the history of their school and community.

A convict bonnet has been made and presented to the school by Jill Murphy from Victoria.

Jill is a descendant of Bridget Connor, a convict of Irish descent, and the bonnet was created as a tribute to the memory of Bridget.

Bridget was buried with her husband James Dalton in the Our Lady of Mercy Cemetery and Ms Murphy was thrilled to discover that their graves still remain intact there.

The bonnet was chosen to be part of Christina Henri’s Roses from the Heart Memorial Collection.

Our Lady of Mercy students first became involved with Christina’s project when, as Heritage Artist at the Tasmanian Craft Fair, she worked with students to create their own bonnets, expressing their feeling about Tasmania’s convict past.

Christina said, “The project aim is to create a cultural tourism stepping stone … across the world using the bonnet symbolism as an applicable and recognisable image relating to convict women.”

School Principal Mary Wall said, “Our school has a history which is very important to the region. Having the bonnet installation here brings to mind the history of the school and its place within the community.”

Meander Valley Mayor Craig Perkins welcomed visitors to the ceremony.

Deloraine Rotary President Rob ven der Elst also attended along with other convict descendants and friends of the bonnet makers. As part of the presentation, Sister of Charity, Anne Turner of Hobart blessed the bonnet and Bridget’s family.

Mike Moores