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Wooden Tray hand carved by Clair Layman

c. 1910

Wooden tray hand carved by Clair Layman

Historical information

Clair Layman was born as Marion St Clair Layman in 1869, daughter of George Layman II and Amelia Harriet nee Curtis. She was educated at Wonnerup School and then at Bishops Girls College, Perth, Western Australia from 1883 to 1885. She learnt chip carving in Hawaii in 1903 when she went on a holiday to visit her aunt Harriet and became well known in the southwest for her wood carvings and needlework. She exhibited all over Australia and is reputed to have won prizes at Melbourne, Coolgardie and Fremantle.

Clair Layman was the granddaughter of George Layman who arrived from Augusta in 1834 and established a farm at Wonnerup, where he farmed until his death in 1841. Clair’s father, George Laymen Junior then took over the farm, built the heritage listed Wonnerup House in 1859 and was the local representative for the Western Australian Legislative Council from 1884 until 1888.



Registration number
Item type
368 mm
Height or length
535 mm
Contextual Information

Clair Layman wood carvings that can still be viewed in the Busselton area include a Fireplace Surround in Wonnerup House and another Fireplace Surround at the Busselton Woolworths, where it was relocated after being removed from a building demolished to build the carpark.

This tray is the Museum’s only documented piece of carving by Clair Layman. It was badly damaged by falling embers and soot in the 2018 fire at the museum. Museum volunteers spent over 10 hours restoring the tray to its current condition using a flicking process to extract the smoke and soot.

Place made
Western Australia
c. 1910
Primary significance criteria
Historic significance
Social or spiritual significance
Comparative significance criteria
Well provenanced
Related Objects

Related Objects

Busselton Historical Society

Busselton Historical Society

Organisation Details
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Clair Layman can be seen in the second row of this photo, taken at her parents Golden Wedding celebration at Wonnerup in 1909, wearing a white dress and black broad brimmed hat.
GOLDEN WEDDING ANNIVERSARY – 28th July 1909 – WONNERUP HOUSE GEORGE LAYMAN (1838-1921) AND AMELIA HARRIET LAYMAN (nee Curtis 1842-1916). Photo 2166 from the BHS Photo Archive

Back Row L-R
Florence Edith Layman (Edie) nee Reynolds, wife of Charles Henry Layman (1868-1956)
Flora Juanita Webster (Nita) nee Layman, daughter (1876-1962) with baby Gemmell Layman Webster? (1909-1962)
Charles Henry Layman (Harry), son (1865-1926)
Nina Glindon Layman, daughter (1878-1937)
Stella Florence Layman, daughter (1874-1962)
Francis Layman nee Walpole, wife of Anthony Glindon Layman, (1871-1936)
Anthony Glindon Layman (Glin), son (1862-1936)
Kate Bayliss Cammilleri nee Layman, daughter (1867-1946)
James Fitzherbert Layman (Jim), son (1880-1912) baby Dorothy Cammilleri? (1909-2003)
Robert Alfred Webster, husband of Flora Juanita Webster nee Layman (1867-1950),
Leonie Ethel Layman?, daughter of Charles Henry Layman (1895-1977)
Frederick William Ponsonby Cammilleri, husband of Kate Bayliss Cammilleri nee Layman (1861-1943)

Middle Row L-R
Frederick Orbal Maitland (Orb), husband of Amelia Glindon Maitland nee Layman (1863-1955)
Amelia Glindon Maitland (Amy) nee Layman, wife of Frederick Orbal Maitland (1864-1947)
George Layman (1838-1921,
Amelia Harriet Layman nee Curtis, wife of George Layman (1842-1916)
Ida Agnes Layman, daughter (1871-1953)
Harriet Marion St Clair Layman (Clair), daughter (1869-1949)
Unknown woman,
Bruce or Arthur Layman, son of CH Layman

Front Row
Young girls sitting at front from left could be Cammilleri children (possibly May Glendon Cammilleri 1896-1970 and Kate Cammilleri 1898-1991) and Charles Henry Layman’s children on the right

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