AUSTRALIA'S LAST WOOLLEN MILL
Been thinking that you want to support the local Australian textile and fashion industry? Here's one way.
Image by Courtney Holm
Australia's Last Woollen Mill
Australian fashion designers are constantly talking about how small the local textile industry is. Most will vehemently declare that if we had textile mills here, they would buy from them and support them, if only there were more that catered to smaller runs. Industry discussions often circle the point that we have lost so much industry to off-shoring and there is a level of pining across the industry in general for greater innovation and investment into our local textile industry. Consumers often ask why things aren't made in Australia, and even if they are, why the fabric is made off-shore. Indeed, why are we sending our raw materials like wool and cotton overseas to be spun and woven before importing it back to where it came from?
Spun recycled wool yarn ready for weaving at Australia's last remaining woollen mill.
It's true that much of our once thriving 2nd tier suppliers (think fabric mills- where the fabric is actually woven or knitted together) have been lost to competition from overseas and lack of support from Australian fashion businesses and retailers.
In 2017, we came to at a point where Australia's last remaining woollen mill was on the verge of closure. Based in Tasmania, Waverley Mills have been operating since 1874. They make high quality woollen goods, like blankets and throws, but also can supply custom fabrications to smaller designers, should they have the patience to develop a relationship and then specialised product with the mill.
Cones of yarn at the Waverley Woollen Mills ready for warp beam preparation.
Waverley Mills made a final effort to fundraise for its cause to stay open, to grow, innovate and thrive in the market once again via an Indie Gogo campaign, and guess what? It worked. To this day they offer beautiful Australian milled blankets, homewares and accessories - with an absolutely beautiful, in-house recycled range too. I personally know so many people who wish they could help keep this industry alive and this is the perfect way to do so.
Weaving in action at the Waverley Woollen Mills.
We were very fortunate to collaborate with Waverley last year to produce two one-of-a-kind garments from blankets that didn't quite make it through the loom without fault.
Wool Shoddy - ready for recycling.
You too can support our very last operating local Woollen Mill by purchasing your next homewares, blankets and gifts from them (this is a rare vertically integrated mill who also sell their own products). The fate of our industry and our ability to innovate with historic mills to produce modern and relevant textiles for a sustainable future is in the balance.
Questions? Comments? Get in touch!