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Crimson Thread of Kinship

A gift to the nation

Panel 4 of the embroidery
Panel 4 of the Crimson Thread of Kinship embroidery. Photo: George Serras.

'For me as a designer, [embroidery is] increasingly a metaphor for storytelling.

The crimson thread symbolises the creation of Australian history and invites us to embroider our own story for the future.'

Sharon Peoples, designer, about 2001

Crimson Thread of Kinship is a 12-metre-long embroidery representing the unfolding story of Australia. It depicts the changing landscape of the nation, beginning with Aboriginal occupation of the continent and finishing in the southern night sky. The red thread looping through the embroidery was inspired by the words of politician Sir Henry Parkes, a leader of the Federation movement, who in 1890 described ‘the crimson thread of kinship’ that could unite the Australian colonies.

Designed by Sharon Peoples, the embroidery was created by the ACT Embroiderers’ Guild to mark Australia’s Centenary of Federation in 2001. Eighty-five women worked for 5500 hours to complete the project.

The ACT Embroiderers’ Guild donated the embroidery to the National Museum of Australia as a gift to the nation.

Explore the embroidery online

Crimson Thread of Kinship

Share the story behind the Crimson Thread of Kinship embroidery, which represents the unfolding story of Australia. Learn about the history of needlework in Australia and meet the people who spent thousands of hours creating this magnificent work.

Launch the Crimson Thread of Kinship Flash interactive
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