November 27, 2013  |  Members Statements

Creswick Woollen Mills

Mr HOWARD (Ballarat East)— I was pleased to make another visit to the Creswick Woollen Mills last week. The mills in Creswick, founded in 1947 by Polish migrant Paul Ryzowy, are now the only coloured woollen spinning mills of their type remaining in Australia. Over 50 Australian mills of this type have closed in recent years, but the one in Creswick remains. It is the largest private employer in the region, employing over 30 people directly and a further 80 indirectly across Victoria through its contractors and suppliers.

The mills owners now focus on producing luxurious products, including Alpaca throws, blankets and accessories woven into sophisticated modern designs. Other innovative products produced at the Creswick mills include personal protection blankets for the Country Fire Authority and the New South Wales Rural Fire Service.

In order to remain viable the executive director of the mill, Boaz Herzfeld, and his team have diversified the mills by developing them as a sales outlet for an impressive range of luxurious, high-quality natural fibre clothing. Mr Herzfeld has also overseen a recent $500 000 investment in the construction of an exciting new, high-tech interactive tourism experience at the mill. Called A Very Fine Yarn this tourism interpretive space, developed with the assistance of $100 000 from the federal government, gives visitors a chance to see all stages of fibre processing and showcases some of the people involved. I was very impressed by the space, which will be officially opened this weekend.