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MADE IN TASMANIA SINCE 1874

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Design Tasmania x Waverley Mills | Waverley 150+

Opening this weekend, Design Tasmania will be hosting an exhibition commemorating 150 years of Tasmania's first commercial woollen factory, Waverley Mills. Founded in 1874 along the banks of Distillery Creek, Waverley Mills stands as the last remaining manufacturing facility of its kind in Australia. With a storied history that includes supplying products to the Australian Army, Qantas, Melbourne Airport, and other iconic Australian businesses, Waverley Mills once produced 80 percent of the country's blanket market. 

The Waverley 150+ exhibition at Design Tasmania will pay tribute to this remarkable legacy through an evolving showcase. The public are invited to contribute their memories of the mill, including stories, photographs, and vintage blankets and apparel. These contributions, along with treasures gathered from around the country, will form the Waverley Mills Design Archive, establishing a lasting tribute to the rich heritage of Australian textile manufacturing. 

Waverley 150+ will also introduce Tasmanian artists and designers into the weaving process for the first time as an intrinsic part of Waverley Mills’ future. Featured artists include:  

Lillian Wheatley, a saltwater (muka luna) woman from the Trawlwoolway nation in northeast Tasmania, whose work is inspired by her Country and life growing up on an island in the Bass Strait. She continues to gather traditional materials and undertake ancient practices to create her contemporary pieces, in this instance hand-weaving woollen yarn together with cultural fibres.   

Tricky Walsh, who will bring their experimental approach to a non-traditional, machine-woven fabric. They have previously been commissioned to create works for galleries and museums in the United States, Italy, France and China, and exhibited extensively throughout Tasmania, Australia and overseas.   

Sharon O’Donnell, a textile artist who weaves threads spun from her own flock of sheep into her creations, to communicate narratives of sustainability and interconnectedness with nature. Throughout the exhibition, she will use raw wool materials from local sheep farms, as well as off-cuts, mill ends and recyclable fibres from Waverley Mills’ production processes. Sharon will be hand-weaving a rug at Design Tasmania each Saturday afternoon during the exhibition, with the public invited to assist.  

“Waverley Mills has been a fixture of our community for a century and a half, from producing classic family apparel, to supplying blankets to Australian soldiers during World War 2 and manufacturing Tasmania’s first electric blanket in the 1960s,” she said. “We’re thrilled to collaborate with Waverley Mills to celebrate that legacy, while also engaging local contemporary artists and the public to take it into the next 150 years and beyond.” – Michelle Boyde, Design Tasmania Artistic Director 

Waverley 150+ will run from 24 March - 26 May at Design Tasmania, on the corner of Brisbane and Tamar Streets in Launceston.  

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Design Tasmania x Waverley Mills | Waverley 150+

Design Tasmania x Waverley Mills | Waverley 150+

Opening this weekend, Design Tasmania will be hosting an exhibition commemorating 150 years of Tasmania's first commercial woollen factory, Waverley Mills. Founded in 1874 along the banks of Distillery Creek,...