How we transformed Cormo wool grown by local Tasmanian farmers into exquisite—and fully traceable—heirloom throws.
Waverley Mills is a manufacturing icon in Australia. Founded in 1874, we’re the country’s oldest working textile mill and the only one that takes raw fibre, spins it into yarn, and transforms it into beautiful, functional textiles—all onsite at our mill in Tasmania.
We strive to source the finest alpaca and wool fibre directly from Australia and, when possible, Tasmania. This region is home to some of the world’s most prized Merino sheep and Huacaya alpacas, with highly coveted fleece.
We’re proud to partner with Australian farmers and wool growers of these exceptional fibres to create timeless, traceable textiles. Keep reading to learn more about our collaboration with local Tasmanian farmers Mandy and Carl Cooper to create a range of throws with wool grown just down the road from our Launceton mill.
Meet the Coopers
Mandy and Carl Cooper returned to their island home of Tasmania in 2015 settling at Willmore’s Bluff to raise livestock. This was a far cry from the Cooper's lives on the mainland, where they worked as community pharmacists.
In 2019, the Coopers purchased a flock of Cormo sheep for their Tamar Valley farm, but it was lockdown in 2020 that gave the Cooper’s time to reflect and develop the idea of fully home grown, Tasmanian made woollen textiles.
It Starts and Ends in Tasmania
It was 1959 when the first flock of Cormo lambs were born in the Central Highlands of Tasmania. The breed is a beautiful cross between Saxon Merino and Corriedale sheep, with wool that’s incredibly soft and luxurious.
After the Coopers’ Cormo flock was shorn, they took two bales of wool across the Bass Strait to Victoria to have it processed into wool tops. With 250 kilograms of fibre in hand, they approached Waverley Mills, and our fruitful partnership began.
“Cooper’s Cormo” wool, as we affectionately call it, is the epitome of homegrown, created and transformed into buttery soft throws all on Australian soil.
All too often, Tasmanian wool is sent overseas to be spun or woven. But with Waverley Mills’ full range of capabilities, we were able to spin the Cooper’s Cormo wool fibre into a beautiful bouclé yarn onsite. We then dyed it, wove it, and finished it to create a range of traceable throws in three gorgeous colours.
As Mandy Cooper told ABC News, "We did it to give our kids, grandkids and people close to us something that came from these Cormo sheep, which was uniquely Tasmanian and uniquely Australian.”