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Wall decoration

From the Collection of Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village 89 Merri Street Warrnambool Victoria

Wall decoration, diorama with decorative gild frame and glass front. The 3-dimensional seascape includes sailing boats, land and sea, all made from materials such as shells, coral and seaweed. The work was made by Anna Wilson. It is part of the Giles Collection.
W 79 x H 69 x D 85 cm
Object Registration
flagstaff hill, warrnambool, shipwrecked-coast, flagstaff-hill, flagstaff-hill-maritime-museum, maritime-museum, shipwreck-coast, flagstaff-hill-maritime-village, giles collection, henry giles, tower hill, cooramook, warrnambool breakwater, mailor’s flat, wangoom, 19th century household goods, 19th century decor, 19th century handcraft, handcraft, wall hanging, diorama of a seascape
Historical information
This unusual wall decoration was created by Anna Wilson (nee Henry), daughter of pioneer John Stephenson Henry, who arrived in Australia from Ireland with his children in 1851. Family documents confirm that Anna most probably made the diorama for her sister-in-law, who married a member of the Giles family. The diorama was later given to Vera Giles who was a family friend and possibly related to Anna’s sister-in-law by marriage. The diorama is now part of the Giles Collection.

Anna married William Wilson in 1860, who had arrived in Australia from County Tarrane in about 1850, aged 19. In 1869 they moved to their new property called ‘Glenlyall’ in Cooramook, north of Grassmere, Victoria, where he lived for 49 years until his death in 1918. He left behind a family of four sons and a daughter.

The Giles Family

There are many 19th century items of furniture, linen and crockery donated to Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village by Vera and Aurelin Giles. The items are associated with the Giles Family and are known as the “Giles Collection”. These items mostly came from the simple home of Vera’s parents-in-law, Henry Giles and his wife Mary Jane (nee Freckleton), whose photos are in the parlour. They married in 1880.

Henry Giles was born at Tower Hill in 1858. He was a labourer on the construction of the Breakwater before leaving in 1895 to build bridges in N.S.W. for about seven years.

Mary Jane was born in 1860 at Cooramook. She attended Mailor’s Flat State School where she was also a student teacher before, as family legend has it, she became a governess at “Injemiara” where her grandfather, Francis Freckleton, once owned land.

Henry and Mary’s family of six, some of whom were born at Mailor’s Flat and later children at Wangoom, lived with their parents at Wangoom and Purnim west, where Henry died in 1933 and Mary Jane in 1940.
When Made
late 19th century
Made By
Anna Wilson (nee Henry) (Maker)
The family of the creator Anna Wilson nee Henry and her husband William Wilson are of significance to the early history of Victoria and the South West of Victoria in particular, being pioneer families who farmed the land, built the towns and cities and contributed to their communities.
The Giles family collection has social significance at a local level, because it illustrates the level of material support the Warrnambool community gave to Flagstaff Hill when the Museum was established.
Last updated
30 Sep 2019 at 10:09PM