‘Women who toiled’ poster by the Womens Domestic Needlework Group

Made by Womens Domestic Needlework Group in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 1979.

Poster art has evolved significantly from the early posters first produced in Australia in the early 19th century that only featured text, to the posters in the The D’Oyley Show Collection that are characterised by bold designs and effective use of photographic and graphic screen print techniques. During the 1970s, political poster groups and alternative print workshops formed in many Australian cities. This collection is an important group of posters that shows the emerging feminist voice of th...


Object No.


Physical Description

Poster, 'Women Who Toiled', screen print on paper, designed and printed by Marie McMahon with Frances Phoenix for the Womens Domestic Needlework Group, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 1979

Poster with two photographic images of traditional lacemakers and featuring a decorative border of Valenciennes lace.


Printed along the bottom of the poster 'Poster One in a series of ten posters designed and printed by the Womens Domestic / Needlework Group, Sydney, 1979. Assisted by the Crafts Board, Australian Council.'



785 mm


510 mm



This is poster one in a series of ten posters designed and printed by the Womens Domestic Needlework Group, Sydney 1979, with the assistance of the Crafts Board, Australia Council.

The Women's Domestic Needlework Group formed in 1976 with members, Frances Budden, Joan Grounds, Bernadette Krone, Kathy Letray, Patricia McDonald, Marie McMahon, Noela Taylor and Loretta Vieceli. The group began collecting women's domestic needlework and related artifacts amassing approximately 700 pieces. In 1978 a collective was formed, to categorise, analyse imagery and prepare the work for an exhibition. The aim of the exhibition was to bring an increased knowledge and appreciation of the creative achievements of women both past and present.

Several of the posters feature images of women from the late 19th-early 20th century providing historical continuity of feminist concerns and the need to recognise and consolidate the earlier contribution of activists from that period.

Note: A number of works by the Women's Domestic Needlework Group member, screenprinter Marie McMahon, are held in the Powerhouse Museum's collection. Marie completed art school at East Sydney Technical College in 1974 and was strongly influenced by the feminist art movement of the 1970s. Some of her posters explore issues of women's independence in the workplace and the home. Along with Frances Budden, Marie's crochet pieces often expressed political slogans.


Womens Domestic Needlework Group 1979



This collection of ten posters was originally part of an exhibition called 'The D'Oyley Show' which was an exhibition of historic and contemporary needlework. This ground breaking exhibition of 1981, which was funded in 1979 by the Australia Council's Craft Board, travelled throughout Australia concentrating on country areas where women still practice these crafts.

'The D'Oyley Show' collection of posters was offered to the Powerhouse Museum by the NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet, Office for Women.


Credit Line

Gift of Office for Women, New South Wales Department of Premier and Cabinet, 2008

Acquisition Date

22 May 2008

Cite this Object


'Women who toiled' poster by the Womens Domestic Needlework Group 2018, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 19 November 2018, <https://ma.as/369339>


{{cite web |url=https://ma.as/369339 |title='Women who toiled' poster by the Womens Domestic Needlework Group |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=19 November 2018 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}


This object record is currently incomplete. Other information may exist in a non-digital form. The Museum continues to update and add new research to collection records.

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