This tapestry is a community stitch project commemorating the role of the Mount Felix Hospital and the centenary of the Gallipoli campaign in WWI. The hospital (New Zealand General Hospital No. 2) was established for New Zealand soldiers wounded at Gallipoli, and later battles.
We researched real life stories of soldiers, nurses, doctors and others who were at the hospital. Tracing their journey from New Zealand, we followed them on their journeys from New Zealand, through the fighting at Gallipoli, to their being wounded and being brought to Mount Felix.
Three of our stories tell of soldiers who met, and fell in love with their future wives, while they were recovering at Mount Felix. They came from very different backgrounds, and their stories did not all end happily.
Our other stories are about nurses, doctors and supporters who either tended the injured, or helped in other ways. They include survival after being torpedoed, pioneering facial reconstruction and film makers.
These stories create the core of the tapestry and were illustrated by Andrew Crummy. Andrew had already designed the Prestonpans Tapestry, a community stitch project in Scotland. Riverhouse displayed the Prestonpans Tapestry in Autumn 2015 to inspire stitchers and Andrew joined us for a lecture and talk.
Andrew created 40 panels for our tapestry. Each panel was stitched by a community group, ranging from primary schools to experienced embroiderers. We provided education packs about the project to schools so that they could learn the amazing history on their doorsteps, and contribute to the tapestry.
Andrew joined us to launch the project on Anzac Day – 25th April 2015. From then on stitching groups started work. The finished tapestry was displayed in the Robert Phillips Gallery at Riverhouse in April 2017.