How it all began - a short history

Bay Quilters – how it all began by Val Jackson (Foundation Member)

When I was Membership Secretary of Victorian Quilters in 2002, I had many enquiries from visitors to Victorian Quilter’s Showcase Exhibition regarding a patchwork group around the Bayside area. There was already a very active group at Mornington Peninsula, but they didn’t want any more members because they already had about 150 participating members and couldn’t fit any more people into the hall where they met.

So, before the 2003 VQ Showcase Exhibition, I decided to investigate if there was any interest from any of the shops in the Bayside area, to see if they would be willing to help with establishing a new group to cover Bayside.

Out of the five shops I visited, the only shop owner keen to help was Helen Heimann. She volunteered to be the contact person for anyone who enquired about a patchwork group in the area. She gave me a stack of business cards to give to anyone who enquired at Showcase with her phone number and shop address.

At Showcase in July, there were indeed many enquiries, and all the business cards were distributed. Helen’s contact details were given to those people when the cards ran out! The Bayside area was certainly in need of a patchwork group.

Helen received many enquiries, and it was decided to set up an Expression of Interest meeting – from memory, it was held in September 2003 with forty-two people attending! Victorian Quilters supported this initial meeting by providing a small contribution to the meeting costs.

And so Bay Quilters came into being. The attendees decided to form a new patchwork group to be called Bay Quilters. A committee was formed to set up the structure of the group; a constitution was developed, and a regular meeting time was decided upon.

The first official meeting of Bay Quilters was held in October 2003 with Helen Heimann as President. Christine Bonacci and Lyn Firestone were instrumental in setting up the Constitution and Christine designed the Logo used during the early days.

From its beginning, Bay Quilters has had very creative and interested members who are keen to participate and support each other. The success of Bay Quilters can be attributed to the friendliness of the members who over the years have been willing to share ideas, be kind to each other and to work together on projects that support the local community and various other causes.

Val Jackson

19 June 2023

Past Presidents

Bay Quilters was established in 2003. A new President is elected every 2 years. Here is a list of the Presidents who have served since inauguration.

  • Helen Heimann (2003/4)
  • Cris Feely (2004/5)
  • Carole Kirby (2006/7)
  • Julie Thorburn (2008/9)
  • Barbara Smith (2010/11)
  • Elaine Harrison (2012/13)
  • Mal Blackmore (2014/15)
  • Tess Hines (2015/16)
  • Marg Armstrong (2017/18)
  • Monique Riedel (2019/20)
  • Fiona Harrison (2021/22)
  • Tricia Deasy (2023/24)


Life Members

  • Julie Thorburn – 2015
  • Mim Blight – 2015
  • Helen Heimann – 2017
  • Bronwyn Smith – 2018
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