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A7504 Textile sampler, 'Carcoar Court House', framed, linen / silk / wood / glass, Mary Ann Gorringe, Carcoar, New South Wales, Australia, 1851. Click to enlarge.

'Carcoar Court House' sampler by Mary Ann Gorringe

This sampler is a particularly fine example of samplers worked by young girls to demonstrate their skills in plain and fancy needlework. The maker, Mary Ann Gorringe (b.1839), was born in England and came out to New South Wales as a baby. Her family settled in Carcoar, a town in the Central West of New South Wales, where her father was a blacksmith and carpenter. At the time this sampler was made, gold had just been discovered in the area and Carcoar was destined to become a thriving regional …


Object No.


Object Statement

Textile sampler, 'Carcoar Court House', framed, linen / silk / wood / glass, Mary Ann Gorringe, Carcoar, New South Wales, Australia, 1851

Physical Description

Sampler worked on a tabby weave linen in green, tan and dark brown silk thread. Cross stitch border of stylised green vines. Central bottom image of Carcoar Court House in fawn using straight stitch. Above this stylised trees, birds, including a horned animal and a black swan, with the caption 'Carcoar Court House Year 1851'. Below, the caption 'Mary Ann Gorringe Age 12'. There are approximately fourteen threads to the cm. Each cross stitch is worked across four threads.

Sampler is mounted in a heavy timber frame, stained, gold inset, glass front.



535 mm


535 mm



It is probable that a traditional sampler pattern book was available for Mary Ann to refer to, as the outer undulating border is very typical of eighteenth and nineteenth century samplers, as are the variety of plants, trees and flowers surrounding the central image of the court house. The inclusion of a number of birds in the design may reflect Mary Ann's country upbringing, or an interest in birds, or even the contents of her pattern book. However the black swan facing the reindeer gives the sampler a strongly original and Australian flavour.

Mary Ann Gorringe, the second daughter of John and Martha Gorringe, was born in Brighton, England on 11 February 1839 and came to Australia with her family as a small baby. She had an elder sister called Ester and at least two other sisters, Martha and Elizabeth, along with brothers William and John.

In 1851, when Mary Ann was twelve years old, she completed this needlework sampler featuring the Carcoar court house. The making of this finely-worked sampler is indicative of a childhood spent with parents who were concerned for her education, anxious that she learn the needlework skills necessary for her future role as wife and mother.

Mary Ann's father John was the first blacksmith in Carcoar and was also a carpenter. It is possible he was involved in the construction of the court house. The family were strong Presbyterians and John is known to have led the choir for the opening of St James church in Carcoar in 1862.

Mary Ann Gorringe married twice, first to a Mr Turner and second on 9 February 1880, to a butcher from Blayney, Edward Price. The Prices had two sons, Edward John, who was born in 1880 and Oswald, born in 1884 and who died on 28 May 1888.

Date is embroidered on object.


Credit Line

Purchased with the assistance of Family Circle Publications,1981

Acquisition Date

1 February 1981

Cite this Object


'Carcoar Court House' sampler by Mary Ann Gorringe 2023, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 8 June 2023, <>


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