Australian Society of the Lacemakers of Calais
The ASLC was formed in 1982 when a small group of people came to the realisation that they shared a common interest in a special group of English machine lacemakers. The Lacemakers in whom they shared an interest were principally those originally from Nottingham and who were involved in two mass migrations in the space of little more than a decade.The Lacemakers' first migration was to escape the poverty, unemployment, misery, disease and discomfort of overcrowded industrial Nottingham. Their migration was to the shores of France - especially to Calais - where their skills as lace artisans were initially treasured and where their employment and well-being seemed assured. During the 1848 Revolution in France, the political and social upheaval left most of them jobless again. Their future in France seemed uncertain. Most decided that making a fresh life in a new land was preferable to returning to England where it was likely they would remain destitute and a burden on their Parishes. Their second migration was to various parts of Australia. The Lacemaker emigrants of particular interest to members of ASLC sailed to Australian ports in one of three sailing vessels, viz. the 'Fairlie' (destination Sydney), the 'Harpley' (destination Adelaide) and the 'Agincourt' (destination also Sydney). These three vessels carried the bulk of the Lacemaker emigrants. Other Lacemaker emigrants came in smaller groups on other vessels including the Canton, Castle Eden, Emperor, General Hewitt, Bermondsy, Walmer Castle, Charlotte Jane, Steadfast, Andromachie, Baboo, Harbinger, Navarino and Nelson. Descendants of these lacemakers are also valued members of ASLC.