A SCOTTISH tapestry which has travelled the world was quarantined on the eve of a new exhibition by customs officers... who then went on strike!

The Scottish Diaspora Tapestry, which was designed by Cockenzie artist Andrew Crummy, arrived in Australia at the start of this month as it prepared for the latest stage in its world tour.

But customs officers in Adelaide ruled the tapestry, which is made up of panels telling the tale of Scots influence across the globe, would need to be quarantined before it went on show in Goolwa, South Australia.

Then they went on strike, leaving it behind bars when it should have been on display.

The Scottish Diaspora Tapestry was created following the success of the Battle of Prestonpans Tapestry, which has drawn thousands of visitors after going on display following completion in 2010.

Both tapestries were designed by Mr Crummy, who was the Prestonpans mural project convenor and a founding director of the 3 Harbours Arts Festival.

The diaspora tapestry includes more than 300 embroidered panels telling stories from around the world.

It’s arrival in Goolwa to start its Australian tour was significant as the town is forever linked to Cockenzie House ancestor Francis Cadell.

Cadell, an explorer, was the first person to navigate a steamer up the Murray river from Goolwa, opening up an important shipping lane for traders.

Goolwa Park in Port Seton is named after the port.

The exhibition, which was due to open in Goolwa on Friday, November 6, came after the tapestry completed a successful showing in Paris and was transported from Europe to Australia.

Organisers did not expect customs officers to raise concerns about the wool used in the panels, and they were stunned when attempts to release the tapestry were further hampered by a strike.

The panels were eventually released to volunteers in time for it to be welcomed to the community of Goolwa a week later.

Jenny Bruce, tour organiser, said she was stunned by the delay, which saw Leah Grace, whose gallery was being used for the exhibition, left with an empty space for a week.

A spokesperson for the tapestry tour said: “We always knew customs in Europe and in Australia didn’t work weekends but we didn’t know Australia Customs were going on strike or they would see fit to quarantine the tapestry for a wee while. But they did.

“Thankfully there were plenty of volunteers on hand when it was finally released to get it up and on display quickly.”

The tapestry is due to remain on display at Goolwa until Saturday, when it moves on to further exhibitions in Adelaide, Tasmania and Albury, in New South Wales. It remains in Australia until April next year when it finishes its tour there in Sydney before going to Dunedin in New Zealand.