Manley family seeks knitting history

By James Arbuthnott

EMMA Manley lived in Merrigum and Lancaster from 1862 to 1947.

In 1937, she presented a knitted blanket to King George VI to commemorate his coronation in 1936, but it was unfortunately declined by the Royal Family due to protocol.

However, during Her Majesty's 1954 royal tour of the Goulburn Valley, where the Manleys had been orchadists, the prolific knitter's blanket was finally received by Queen Elizabeth – just seven years after Mrs Manley’s passing.

Now, Mrs Manley’s great-granddaughter Jenny Manley wants to make a knitting book about her work, which has been distributed around Goulburn Valley for about a century.

“The way she knitted was very interesting and we have found a variety of her knitting, she used to order the English Women’s Weekly from Judd’s store and would order wool there,” Jenny said.

“She submitted her knitting in competitions at the Royal Melbourne Show to promote the Victorian wool industry and her work has kept its vibrant colours. It’s a soft wool which feels pure but there’s black and blue and orange and red and they’re all in really good condition.”

Emma knitted using sharpened bicycle spokes as needles and fine Australian wool. She entered knitting competitions around Victoria and her family has managed to recover 22 of her knitted items and they want to find more around Goulburn Valley.

“We have found a variety of her knitting, including seven blankets, a pillow, pair of socks, pot holders and tea cosies.

“She just knitted all the time and I imagine there’s more out there. I don’t want the items but I want to take a photo of the fair-isle knitting patterns, which is a Scottish knitting pattern.”

Anyone who knows of any of Mrs Manley’s knitting items is encouraged to call Bev Woods on 0439 553 651 for photos and historical record keeping.

Emma Manley was married to John James Manley and they had four children: Elsie Manley (Adams), George Manley, Thomas Manley and Annie Manley (Robinson).