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Dorcas McGee, 1852

This sampler was made by Dorcas McGee in Ireland and brought to Australia in 1850.

This has been kindly lent to the Ulster American Folk Park for inclusion in its temporary exhibition ‘Threads of Emigration, on display in the museum in 2005. This sampler has now been returned to its owner.   

Sampler by Dorcas McGee, 1852. Ulster American Folk Park CollectionThis needlework sampler was made by Dorcas McGee. It was in her luggage when she emigrated from Ireland to Australia aboard the ship Tantivy in 1852.

Dorcas’ brother was Thomas D’Arcy McGee. Thomas left for America after the failed Young Ireland rebellion in 1848 and became editor of the New York Nation newspaper. He later became a ‘father of Confederation’ in Canada and was assassinated in Ottawa in 1868. The poem quoted on the sampler was written by Young Ireland leader Charles Gavan Duffy. He emigrated to Australia and became Prime Minister of Victoria.

Dorcas died unmarried in Melbourne in 1887. The sampler was passed down through three generations of the family.