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Heidelberg’s Busy Bee Signature Quilt, 1895-96

Square B11

Quilt square B11


Gracie Frost


The person represented on this square is most likely to be Grace Emily Frost (1893-1989), the elder daughter of Isabella Margaret Lowe (1867-1933) and Alfred William Frost (d. 1935).

Further information

Grace Emily was only two or three years old when the square was made for her, hence the diminutive name ‘Gracie’. She was born in Fitzroy in 1893, a year after her parents’ marriage.

By 1895, the family was living in Park Street, Ivanhoe. Grace’s sister was Isabella Jean Lucy Pitman née Frost (1897-1983).

As a young woman in 1918, Grace was the secretary of the Girls’ Guild of the Ivanhoe Presbyterian Church, organising social events such as a fundraiser for the French Red Cross. Both Grace and Isabella were unmarried at this time and it is likely they continued to live with their parents.

When their mother and father died (in 1933 and 1935 respectively) each parent was recorded as living in Ivanhoe. Alfred William’s occupation at the time of his death was recorded as ‘gentleman’.

In 1940, Grace married Alexander Joseph Mann (1881-1954) and moved to Sassafras in the Dandenong Ranges, east of Melbourne. She was 47 years of age and he was 59. A photograph taken of the Yaksin Lee Auxiliary group of the Knox (Presbyterian) Church in Ivanhoe includes Grace, her husband (identified as ‘Alec’) and her sister Isabella, recorded as ‘Isie’ and apparently not yet married. The photograph is therefore likely to have been taken in the early 1940s, after the Manns’ wedding in 1940 and prior to Isabella’s marriage to William James Vernon Pitman in 1943. [See P3678 in the Photographs collection of Heidelberg Historical Society. Annotations on this image suggest that the photograph might have been taken at the Manns’ home in Sassafras.]

Grace Mann might have been the ‘Mrs Mann’ who often won prizes for her decorative flower entries at various local flower shows in the Dandenongs, although this could have been another member of the Mann family such as her mother-in-law or sister-in-law.

In 1950 ‘Mrs Mann’ was listed as an office-bearer with the Sassafras-Ferny Creek Country Women’s Association (CWA) and in 1951 ‘Mrs A. Mann’ won the competition for a Plate of Biscuits at a CWA meeting. In 1953, ‘Mrs A. J. Mann’ also won the prize for biscuits (3 varieties) at the Dandenong Ranges CWA craft show.

Grace died in 1989 in Eltham at the age of 94 years. Her husband pre-deceased her by 35 years.

Another ‘Frost’ on the quilt is B Frost at [J17]. No connection between ‘B Frost’ and Grace and her family has yet been identified.


Grace Emily Mann: BDMV 7017/1989.

Isabella Margaret Frost née Lowe: BDMV 6259/1892; 4380/1933.

Alfred William Frost: BDMV 6259/1892; [no birth or death record].

Isabella Jean Lucy Pitman née Frost: BDMV: 28703/1897; 9692/1943; 9961/1983.

Sands and McDougall Directory, 1895.

Heidelberg News and Greensborough, Eltham and Diamond Creek Chronicle, 3 August 1918, p. 2.

Probate of Alfred William Frost, died 29 Dec 1935; Residence: Ivanhoe. VPRS 28/ P3 unit 2782, item 276/707. Summary viewed on-line.

Probate of Grace Emily Mann, died 18 Mar 1989; Occupation: Widow; Residence: Eltham: VPRS 28/ P19 unit 153, item 1011/071. Summary viewed on-line.

Mountain District Free Press, 24 September 1948, p. 3; 13 April 1950, p. 6; 7 December 1950, p. 3; 28 June 1951, p. 3; 7 May 1953, p. 3.

Photograph collection of the Heidelberg Historical Society includes a group photo (catalogue ref P3678) that shows Grace Mann (née Frost) in the front row, second from the left. Her married details are given as well (Mrs Alec Mann of Sassafrass). In the middle row, Alec Mann is at the left end and ‘Isie’ is at the right end.

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