The Mill Collection
The Lobethal Woollen Mill Collection
A Project to preserve and provide an important context for this Australian Icon.
- The Lobethal’s Onkaparinga Woollen Mill was of major economic benefit to South Australia and is an Icon of the Australian wool industry.
- The Onkaparinga blanket covered many an Ozzie bed, warming the toes of youngster and oldie through the cold winter.
- Many households still have an Onkaparinga blanket on their bed or in their linen press and an Onkaparinga rug for the beach or a picnic, as well as a Lightweight Airline Knee Rug for comfort during a flight.
- The Mill made the cloth for sturdy woollen garments that protected our soldiers from the physical elements during two World Wars. The Mill made high quality cloth that also made uniforms for the RAN, RAAF, Police, Railways, Tramways E&WS, ETSA to name a few.
- Even though Onkaparinga was internationally famous for Blankets and Rugs its primary source of income was from niche market cloth to make ladies apparel lines (e.g. Sportscraft Aywon).
- The Mill’s large diverse range of woollen cloth was used to make Dressing Gowns, Duffel Coats and Sports Jackets and even Filter Cloth for smelter chimneys.
When the Onkaparinga Woollen Mill closed in 1993 a small selection of the Mill machinery and associated pieces came under the control of the Onkaparinga Woollen Museum Inc (OWMMI).
The collection also includes some 7000+ samples of Blankets, Rugs and fabrics, some dating back over one hundred years, as well as photos and films of the working mill and other records. Because of constraints in space and the inappropriate conditions for conservation only a small selection of the collection can be on display.
The Onkaparinga Woollen Museum Inc. (OWMMI) is the owner of the collection which is housed in Building 26 at the Woollen Mill in Lobethal.
The Adelaide Hills Council allocated the building, which was once the blanket storage room at the rear of the complex. The Council now wishes to re-develop a portion of the mill site and in so doing will restrict the Mill Collection and a clear direction, vision and succession plan for the future.
The OWMMI is investigating options to save the collection and if necessary, relocate it to where it can be transformed into an exciting enterprise which is worthy of national significance.