The Mirror News

Fish Creek tea cosy sets new world record

• Pictured under Andrew McPherson’s tea cosy arch outside the Fish Creek Memorial Hall on Saturday May 14, 2022 are South Gippsland Shire Mayor Mohya Davies, Bendigo Bank Toora and Foster Community Bank branches board chair Jan Bull, Fish Creek Tea Cosy Festival committee president Marge Arnup, Tea Cosy Competition judges Robyn Lauder and Heather Gibson,
and Eastern Victoria MLC Melina Bath.

A HAND-KNITTED tea cosy in every colour of yarn imaginable has set a new world record right at the start of the 2022 Fish Creek Tea Cosy Festival on Saturday May 14, 2022.

Created by literally hundreds of knitters from across Australia and even  New Zealand, and swaddling its own custom-made “teapot”, the biggest tea cosy ever measures 5.11 metres high, 6.24 metres across, and 19.3 metres around its middle.

Fish Creek’s tea cosy easily smashed the previous record established in April 2009 by a 3.9- by 11.1-metre cosy produced by Bupa nursing home residents in three countries.

Frankston teacher Di MacDonald coordinated the Guinness World Record Challenge, inspired by her Special School students’ wish to try for a world record, and backed by the now nation-wide Knit-A-Row-And-Go community craft hubs she began.

The giant cosy and pot, set out on the Fish Creek Village Green, was among the more-than-a week-long Tea Cosy Festival’s Day One highlights, alongside the official opening ceremony and the announcement of the Tea Cosy Competition winners.

With its main entrance adorned by local artist Andrew McPherson’s arched metal teapot, the Fish Creek Memorial Hall was the epicentre of tea cosies, with the many dozens of entries received displayed on rows of tables according to category.

Tea Cosy Festival committee president Marge Arnup said, “we’re all so excited to be back!” as she greeted the Festival’s guests of honour and an auditorium already filled almost to the brim with delighted tea cosy fans from near and far.

“This is the first time we’ve been able to do this live since 2018,” she said, before extending the welcome to country, and acknowledging the generosity of the Tea Cosy Festival’s sponsors, patrons, prize donors, and supporters, and the energy of “my hard-working committee”.   

“This Festival is a way of promoting Fish Creek, of expressing our quirkiness and individuality, and celebrating the hospitality of our town, because Fish Creek is a really warm place to be!” Marge said.

“We’re bringing you a nine-day festival, and who would have ever thought Fish Creek could host such an event, however we are very proud to be able to bring this whole community effort to you.”

After paying tribute to the late Deidre Grainger who was behind the inaugural Tea Cosy Festival held in 2013, Marge said the 2020 Festival got “COVID-ed” but still ran as “an online exhibition”.

“We’ve still got COVID, but South Gippsland Shire and Victorian Government funding has given us an opportunity to support local economic recovery,” she said.

“Thank you to everyone who has helped us to do this, including all of our tea cosy makers!”

South Gippsland Shire Mayor Mohya Davies said the Tea Cosy Festival “really is unique, and the people of Fish Creek are so clever to come up with such an unusual and imaginative event.

“It’s great to see such an initiative, and Marge and her team have done such a sensational job,” she said, before putting in “a plug for the Shire’s eight plans and strategies out on exhibition, and we’d love to talk to and hear from you.”

The board chair of major Festival sponsor, the Bendigo Bank Toora and Foster Community Bank branches, Jan Bull said the Community Bank had been involved with the Tea Cosy Festival since 2013 “ because of the objectives of the Festival committee.

“Look at the way the Festival has created connections between locals, visitors and the wider arts and crafts community, and a forum to showcase real talent,” she said.

“The Community Bank appreciates the support of our existing customers and we encourage new ones to join us because without you the Bank and its Toora and Foster branches would not be able to back local activities.”

The Tea Cosy Competition was judged by life-long tea cosy maker and master crafter Robyn Lauder of New South Wales, and Fish Creek’s own Heather Gibson, a founding member of the Festival’s committee and a former Country Women’s Association judge.

Robyn said she learned her favourite craft skills of crochet and knitting as a young child, and that her mother was commissioned to make “tea cosies by the hundreds for Sydney-based department stores such as David Jones and Anthony Horderns.

“I’m a retired secondary school science teacher, and perhaps because of that I’m a stickler for perfection, and I look for proper finishing and whether the entry has addressed the judging criteria,” she said.

“What Heather and I have been presented with in this competition is absolutely brilliant, and I was ecstatic to see such a variety, quality, and originality, which has made it very hard to choose the winners.”

“Thank you to my fellow judge and my newest old friend Heather for her tips and comments and help,” Robyn said.

“I come from a little country town smaller than this, near Taree in New South Wales, and had never met any Fish Creek people until 9 pm on Thursday just gone, and now I feel I’m part of the family, not just the community, and so I’ll be back.”

Fish Creek born-and-bred Eastern Victoria MLC Melina Bath said her standard reply to anyone who asks her where Fish Creek is located is “at the centre of the universe!”

“Those who have come to live here in Fish Creek are very wise”” she laughed.

“There is a part in my dark past I want to tell you about, and it’s that my great grandmother loved coffee, and had the Coffee Palace here in Fish Creek.

“My grandmother liked tea, though, and my dad drinks tea, and my mum used to count tea leaves because she was the Fish Creek Hall committee treasurer at one time,” Melina said.

“I’d like to make up for this with the Fish Creek Tea Cosy Festival committee, and I now invite all of the committee members to join me for High Tea at Parliament House in Spring Street.”

Melina thanked the members for “making the commitment to enrich the fibre of the community” and noted how heart-warming it was to “see people caring for each other” before declaring the 2022 Fish Creek Tea Cosy Festival open.

The 2022 Fish Creek Tea Cosy Festival continues every day until Sunday evening May 22, when the final event, an ecumenical service entitled Text in a Tea Cup, takes place in the Fish Creek Union Church at 6 pm.

See images of the 2022 brew of tea cosies and full details of the 2022 Fish Creek Tea Cosy Festival at or find Fish Creek Tea Cosy Festival on Facebook.


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