Inspired: Small town serendipity

We don’t have to look far for inspiration, all we need to do is step out our front door. It's almost our favourite time of the year in our little dot on the map. 

Blossom time in the boo

For two fleeting weeks of the year Mirboo North puts on a show. The cherry blossom trees lining our main street go from twiggy dormant skeletons to a corridor of pink and white blossoms. If we’re lucky enough, the winds arrive to give us a dramatic finale of petals falling and swirling like a delicate snow storm. 

When designing the Field Journal quilt, Katie just had to include some cherry blossoms. To celebrate blossom time we have converted the Field Journal stitchery into a cross stitch design as part of the Field Journal X series. You can purchase the pattern here.

Field Journal quilt featuring Liberty of London fabric

In the humdrum of every day life, it’s easy to take all the inspiration around us for granted. We’d like to take this opportunity to share what we love about our little town (affectionately known as the Boo) and maybe when you thread a needle with CGT, you will have a thought for the journey it’s made, originating from the banks of the river Nile Egypt, to the heart of our little town in Gippsland, Victoria and all the way to your needle, wherever in the world that may be. 

Cottage Garden Threads packaging

You may remember we mentioned our 100 year old building in our blog ‘The dye lot dilemma’ and the impact being in an old building has on the dye process. Although it causes challenges, we love it’s character and the history it holds. Here is a photo of the original build for an auctioneers office and a recent photo with vintage cars parked across the road. 

Of all the businesses this building has homed over the last 100 years, we like to think that CGT is the most colourful. Katie designed a stitchery called ‘Magic happens here’ which features on our work cushion pattern.  But more about the work cushion in a later blog post. 

work cushion embroidery design

At one end of the main street we have a kindergarten, a primary and secondary school. Where a good lot of the kids of CGT staff attend. Being a small town, serendipitous connections are aplenty. One of CGT’s stitching friends Handle Bar Stitcher is a primary school teacher who has taught many of our kids. Justin enlisted the help of Katie’s daughter Mae to draw the love hearts in his ‘Love Bugs’ design for the Hearts for Pam project. The chart will be available to purchase later this year when we feature Justin in a meet the designer blog post.

drawing love hearts on bugs

Every afternoon just before 5:00pm we head down to the local Post Office at the other end of the main street to visit Eric and Mary. We load our parcels onto the beautiful old original timber counter and wish them a safe journey to you. 

The name Mirboo comes from the Aboriginal word for Kidney, the Gunaikurnai People are the Traditional Owners of the land on which our town is built. Their lands extend from the southern coast of Victoria near Port Welshpool north through our town to the Baw Baw National Park and across East Gippsland as far as Orbost and Marlo. We acknowledge them and pay our respects to their Elders past and present. 

Mirboo North is home to around 1500 people and quite a few dogs. Anyone old enough to recall the hit TV series Northern Exposure about a fictional small town in Alaska will get the vibe. Except that we don’t have moose or bears – other than the small-scale koala type and other adorable Aussie icons like the echidna, wombat, wallaby and kangaroo. We look out across the road to a beautiful park spanning the length of the main street and directly across the road there’s a monument to Sam the Koala and volunteer firefighter David Tree (who also happens to be a school bus driver and real estate agent). 

Sam was rescued from the bush on the outskirts of Mirboo North during the devastating 2009 Black Saturday Victorian bushfires. She had been caught in a defensive back-burning operation and sustained burns to the pads of her feet. The mobile phone video of her being given water by David Tree went viral and became the face of the Black Saturday fires.

Firefighter giving Koala water during Black saturday bushfires
Black saturday bushfires monument Mirboo North

Mirboo North was built during colonisation of the Gippsland by white settlers. The first to come were timber cutters – in the last quarter of the 18th century - when the hills around here were covered with dense wet temperate rainforest. Mountain ash – eucalyptus regnans - the tallest of any flowering plant in the world grew here in abundance, and it was these trees that the timber cutters came for.  Mirboo Lily is a native flower endemic to these forests – it’s one of many CGT threads named in honour of the plants that grow here. A mural featuring the Mirboo Lily was recently painted on one of the business walls by artist Melanie Capel and high school students. They were given the task of updating an older mural. You can see some of the original mural of old growth forest in the large circle.

A railway was built to Mirboo North in 1886 to take the timber out, but the last train left the station in the 1970’s and the tracks were ripped up. In recent years, the lines have been turned into a rail trail which is one of our favourite local places to visit. There's nothing quite like the smell of fresh air and eucalyptus trees. 

After the timber cutters cleared the land, the selectors and farmers came to farm dairy, cattle, and grow potato crops. There was a dairy co-operative in the main street for years until it closed and became the home of a local brewery – Grand Ridge Brewery, one of the early micro-breweries to pop up in the Victorian countryside.

In the years between the World Wars, Italian migrants, many from Sicily, made Mirboo North their home and a tradition of celebrating Italian culture grew. Each year in February Mirboo North hosts the Italian Festa. Who knew that this little town could fit 20,000 people! 

In the deepest darkest winter, we have a Winterfest with a lantern parade, art exhibitions, markets and music. Both the Italian Festa and  the Winterfest festivals are run completely by volunteers and are fueled by small town spirit. You can check out beautiful galleries of these events on Instagram @mirboonothitalianfesta and @mirboonorthwinterfest 

If you would like to know more about Mirboo North, you can visit

Thank you for reading our blog. We hope you've been inspired to take a look out your own front door and in turn be inspired by the place you live and the serendipitous connections that happen all around us. 

Happy Stitching