These works are based on the life events of my great-great-grand mother Anastasia Eustes/Eustace/Withers.
Anastasia was transported at nineteen to Van Diemen’s Land in 1843, was held on the Anson for her probation period, allocated into service from Cascades Female Factory, returned pregnant, absconded at six months pregnant and when she returned was sentenced to one month hard labour. She had her baby, Mary, who died at seven weeks at Dynnyrne House. Upon receiving her ticket of leave Anastasia married Samuel Withers and soon went to the Victorian goldfields. She was the first women on the Bendigo goldfields, was one of the three women who sewed the Eureka flag at the Eureka Stockade, Ballarat. Anastasia ran a pub with Samuel called the Hit-or-Miss Hotel at Milkmaid’s Flat (now Castlemaine) and went on to establish businesses and a life never possible for someone of her class in England.
The first seven works (oil on Canvas) are narrative, telling the events of Anastasia’s life. The subsequent canvases explore the essence of Anastasia, her journey, memory and symbols. My more recent work comprises pieces machine stitched fabric and hand stitched organdy continuing in the Anastasia theme.