The Wagga Project

Help preserve and share our Australian heritage.

You are invited to join The Wagga Project. The National Wool Museum asks communities across Australia to look through their closets and trunks for heritage quilts and waggas (also known as bushman’s blankets).

As custodian to one of Australia’s largest and most significant collections of heritage quilts and waggas, the National Wool Museum is always on the lookout for more examples and stories to share. Whether treasured family heirlooms, passed from generation to generation or new creations crafted from upcycled treasures of today - we want to know about them!

National Wool Museum Director Padraic Fisher understands that quilts are stories made of cloth and there are great stories across Australia just waiting to be shared.

Padraic Fisher - National Wool Museum Director

Quilts and waggas are equal parts history, handcraft, art, storytelling and good old fashion usefulness. Today, we recognise textile making is a tradition in excess of 60,000 years – from first people’s traditional techniques to cutting edge technologies.

There are three ways to participate and be part of The Wagga Project

  1. Share your quilt or wagga story on social media by using the hashtags #nationalwoolmuseum #thewaggaproject.
  2. Add your quilt or wagga story to the National Quilt Register.
  3. Preserve your quilt or wagga by donating it to the nationally significant National Wool Museum Quilt and Wagga Collection.

You can contact the Museum by emailing [email protected] or  join the conversation by posting waggas on social media using the hashtag #nationalwoolmuseum, #thewaggaproject

What is a wagga?

Born of necessity and the desperate times of the 1890s to 1930s, the wagga was the bushman’s blanket, made by pioneering men from old jute wheat sacks and wool bales. As it evolved, women replaced the rough jute sacks with calico flour bags, fabric swatches and bits of old clothes. The wagga embodies the ‘make-do’ Aussie spirit.

The Wagga Project is a project of the National Wool Museum to build and care for its significant collection of heritage quilts and waggas. We are passionate about textiles, about community and sharing our collective culture through storytelling.

The National Wool Museum holds one of Australia’s largest and most significant public collections of quilts and waggas. It includes:

  • 24 quilts
  • 25 waggas
  • 9 Expressions: The Wool Quilt Prize winners
  • 2 rugs and
  • 2 tapestries.

In the spirit of storytelling through quilt making, the National Wool Museum builds on the Collection through our programs, Expressions: The Wool Quilt Prize, the National Quilt Register, The Wagga Project and the Djillong Possum Skin Cloak Project. 

Learn more about the heritage quilts and waggas in the National Wool Museum Collection by reading Waggas and the Arts of Making Do in Australia - An essay by Padraic Fisher and Luke Keogh. Published by the National Wool Museum, Australia, October 2021.

The history of quilting (in 4 minutes)

Page last updated: Friday, 10 May 2024