Historical information

This item is one of many 19th century items donated to Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village by the Giles Family, and known as the “Giles Family Collection”.

Henry Giles was born at Tower Hill, Victoria in 1858 and worked as a labourer on the Warrnambool Breakwater. His wife, Mary Jane, was born in 1860 at Cooramook and worked as a student teacher at Mailor’s Flat Secondary School.

The Giles family lived at The Maam, Wangoom in the late 19th century, before moving to New South Wales in 1895, where Henry built bridges. Henry died in 1933 and Mary Jane died seven years later.

Flagstaff Hill holds a number of objects associated with the Giles family, which were donated by Flagstaff Hill volunteers Vera and Aurelin Giles (Henry and Mary Jane’s daughter and granddaughter respectively). These are predominantly located in the Lighthouse Keeper’s Cottage and include:

Living room
• Cloths (made by Vera Giles)
• Portraits of Mary and Henry Giles
• 1 x dresser
• Covers on dresser
• 1 x bellows

Baby’s room
• 1 x blessing (in the baby’s room)
• 1 x picture of boy and girl
• 1 x rocking chair
• 1 x cushion (made by V Giles)
• 1 x chest (belonging to Mary Jane Giles’s mother, Jane Fleming who migrated to Australia from Ireland in 1843)
• 1 x chest cover
• Bed materials

• 1 x knitted bedspread and cushion cover (knitted by V Giles)
• Pillow shams and covers (Mrs Catherine King)
• Pillow cases (Mary Giles)
• 1 x wash stand (Mary Giles)
• Towels (lace knitted by Aurelin Giles)
• 1 x washstand cover
• 1 x white ceramic dog
• Shaving items
• 1 x dressing table mirror
• 1 x dressing table cover (made by Aurelin Giles)
• 1 x framed motto
• 2 x texts
• 1 x settee (sofa)
• 1x wardrobe (Vera Giles donated the wardrobe in the Lighthouse Keeper’s Cottage to Flagstaff Hill. According to Aurelin Giles, it was originally owned by William Swinton junior and was later given to a friend of the Giles family.)

• Settee covers (made by V Giles)
• 1 x sideboard
• 1 x butter churner
• 2 x pictures
• 1 x white cheese dome
• 1 x wash-up tray
• 2 x jugs
• 1 x vegetable bowl and dish
• 1 x willow pattern dinner set
• Glass butter and jam dishes.


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.

Physical description

Tray cloth, white cotton with blue floral embroidery, chrchet edge. Some small tears. (Giles Collection)

Inscriptions & markings

Tag attached "LHK N7"