Keep Australia's Last Woollen Mill Alive
Australian fashion designers are constantly talking about how small the local textile industry is. Most will wistfully 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 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.
We are at a point in history where Australia's last remaining woollen mill is on the verge of closure. Based in Tasmania, the 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 is making a final effort to fundraise for its cause to stay open, to grow, innovate and thrive in the market once again. But they need your help. They are on Indie Gogo now and are offering beautiful Australian milled gifts for anyone who contributes. With Christmas so close, this is a gift that gives twofold. I know so many people who wish they could help keep this industry alive and this is the perfect chance to do so.
Weaving in action at the Waverley Woollen Mills.
Please check them out and pledge your support. If this mill closes, we are not only losing Australia's last woollen mill, but the jobs, skills and machinery that goes with it. 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. Pledge Now.
Questions? Comments? Get in touch!