Wangaratta Woollen Mills Film
Wangaratta Woollen Mills
Please contact Rural City of Wangaratta and Arts VictoriaCopyright
Rural City of Wangaratta and Arts Victoria
When a group of Wangaratta business men decide their town needs a woollen mill they start a share float. One of the men, William Callander, comes up with a bold plan to promote the project. His two daughters, Alma and Lena, take to the skies in an open biplane, seated on kerosene tins, to scatter leaflets across the region.
In this video, Lena's daughter Lorraine Vaughan talks about the beginning of the Wangaratta Woollen Mills, and how central they were to the creation of Wangaratta as we know it today.
Wangaratta Woollen Mills Limited began in 1919 with a share float by local businessmen to create employment and attract workers and their families to the town. By 1922 the Wangaratta Woollen Mills was operational, and its powerhouse supplied all the electricity to the town of Wangaratta.
The Woollen Mills were famous for the quality of their woollen yarns, and in the 1950s became involved with synthetic yarns. Well known as a factory with a family atmosphere, an indeed often employing many members of the same family, the Mill had many sporting and social clubs. The Mills became Australian Country Spinners (ACS) in 1994.
-We grew up here in Woollen Mills, Woollen Mills, Woollen Mills, really, because grandpa, of course, was one of the instigators. He and some others had tried to get the idea of a Woollen Mills or some factory off the ground. Young people of the town needed employment, and a lot were leaving. I think grandpa actually thought it was a good idea if they got all these folders printed out and threw them around the town.
My mother, Elma, and her sister, Lena Callandar sat on kerosene boxes in this little open plane and threw these folders out, or posters, or whatever they were. And from that, they raised a lot of money. From there, they were able to get the Woollen Mills off the ground. It's great that it's still going, and that's the main thing for the employment in the town.