Search for the stories behind Lydham Hall's mysterious treasures

The St George Historical Society is calling on the public to help in its search for the identity of an 11-year-old girl from 1886.

This follows the discovery of a rare needlepoint sampler made in 1886 and signed by 11 year-old Ann Piper.

Lydham Hall, the heritage-listed building and museum at Rockdale, has been closed for two years and the St George Historical Society and the Lydham Hall Committee have been cataloguing thousands of items.

"First the building was closed for the roof to be replaced and then COVID hit," St George Historical Society treasurer Tina Workman said

"So we took time to catalogue all the items because this has never been done before.

"Many of the items were donated in the 1970s and 80s and haven't been touched for some time.

"We found all types of items including jewellery, medals, watches and military memorabilia which is very interesting.

"These were war art souvenirs the soldiers made while they were overseas.

Some of them are tarnished and totally black from mildew.

"When we cleaned one it, a bracelet we found it was inscribed 'Gallipoli, 1914'.

"We have so many treasures that people have donated. Some are well-documented with wonderful local stories. Others, sadly, are not."

This includes the needlepoint sampler by 11-year-old Ann Piper 165 years ago.

"It is beautifully stitched with flowers and animals," Ms Workman said.

"I've searched the birth records for Ann Piper but couldn't find any mention of her.

"Who was she? Where did she live? We would love to know more if anyone can help us."

The sampler is currently being cleaned, partly restored, reframed and will be displayed at Historic House Museum when it reopens, hopefully early in the new year.