Please be wary. A Malaysian has created a copycat online store offering our products at half price. It is a scam to get unsuspecting buyers to share their credit card information.
Please share this amongst your knitting friends. We'd hate for anyone to be trapped by unscrupulous con artists like this.
Visit our Mill
Each year, over 30,000 visitors make the journey to our little town to tour Nundle Woollen Mill.
In our regular tours, visitors marvel at our antique machines humming away as they work their magic to turn bales of the finest Australian merino wool into yarns in the vibrant colours for which we have become famous.
A visit to the Mill is a chance to reconnect with Australia’s wool heritage and browse our yarns, clothing and accessories.
We have been finalists and winners in the Australian Tourism Awards, New South Wales Tourism Awards and Inland Tourism Awards.
We welcome independent travellers and groups.
For all tour bookings, please call 1300 NUNDLE (1300 686 353).
11am & 2pm Monday to Friday (allow 45 mins)
Tour $5.00 per head.
We offer a $5.00 voucher to spend in store on the day, valid for purchases over $15.
Tours at other times by arrangement:
Cost $5.00/head (minimum 8 people) $5.00 voucher is NOT offered with these tours
Country Style lunch in the Woollen Mill gardens
Minimum 15 people
The Oakenville Store is able to offer the following lunch when booked 7 days prior to requirement:
This lunch includes a locally sourced seasonal veggie soup with Hanging Rock sourdough bread, slow cooked local lamb with scallop potatoes and a homemade cake with tea and coffee to finish.
Cost: $25.00 / head
The menu is subject to change without notice and will consider seasonal availability of indicated items.
About Nundle Woollen Mill
Visitors to Nundle Woollen Mill are sometimes surprised that it’s so young, having first opened on Australia Day 2001.
What gives the Mill its aura of history? Perhaps it’s the machinery housed inside.
Most of it has been sourced from long dormant mills and lovingly restored.
Everything we do is driven by three passions.
We want to add an element of entertainment to craft supplies.
We want our customers to feel attractive and fashionable in the garments we sell.
And we want to create a reconnection with Australia’s wool heritage.
Do come and visit us.
Nick & Kylie Bradford and team
Nundle Woollen Mill is located in Oakenville Street in the historic village of Nundle, 60 kilometres south of Tamworth in north-west NSW. The Kamilaroi people are the traditional custodians of the land on which Nundle sits, with ‘Nundle’ being a derivative of ‘Nuntal’, the Kamilaroi name for the ridgeline above the village, meaning “mouth”. The Kamilaroi people recognised the importance of this area as the ridgeline forms the mouth of the start of three river systems, the Peel River from the ridgeline towards the west, the Isis River which flows into the Hunter River to the South and the Barnyard River to the East. This is a unique part of the Great Dividing Range where three river systems originate from such a small part of the ridgeline.
We acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the country where Nundle Woollen Mill stands today and recognise their continuing connection to land, waters and culture. We pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging.
Meaghan from @Coloured Wool & Fibre Company sharing her beautiful colours using our Merino Silk Yarn Megan Hellmrich’s Peppermint Willow little throws using felted wool vine Lynda Collins Handmade Interior extreme throw made with Nundle wool vine (22.0 micron)
Our clever customers
Many customers have become friends. They share photos of the garments and soft furnishings they create with our yarns. They share patterns, stories and tips.
Some of our customers learnt to knit from their country grandmothers. Some knit with friends in inner city cafés. Some have turned their love of knitting into thriving businesses. Others create fine art.
Our customers make us look good with their creativity.
Woollen mills were once common in Australia. Today some of the machines that operated in these defunct mills now hum productively in our Mill.
Several of our machines were relocated from the JL McGregor Mill in Geelong, Victoria to Nundle in 2000.
They were manufactured by famous textile machinery manufactures and have been passionately restored by us.
Nundle Woollen Mill and its machines are very unique from a couple of different perspectives. Firstly, we are the last wool spinning mill of our kind still operating in Australia. Secondly, we don’t know of another spinning mill in the world that is working in a commercial way with machines aged up to or exceeding 100 years old. Our oldest machine is a beautiful old carding line, manufactured around 1914, a spritely 102 years old! All our machines work just as well today as they did when they came off their production lines!
OUR PROCESSING STEPS
Prior to arriving at Nundle Woollen Mill, the fleece is shorn, sorted and classed in the shearing shed, and conveyed by truck to the major wool buying centres in Sydney and Melbourne.
Following sale by auction (wool is still sold by the open cry auction system and under auctioneers hammer), the wool is scoured or washed in Geelong to remove dirt and grease, and transported by truck to Nundle.
Here at Nundle, we use 22 to 23 micron Polwarth type wool with very little vegetable matter. The Nundle process begins:
MACHINE NO. 1 – THE OPENER
The Opener or Picker was built by Tomlinsons of Rochdale England in 1916 and was purchased from Australian Textile Recyclers, in Victoria. Built to last, the machine was sometimes used as a rag shredder.
The Opener has now been restored to good running condition, and its primary role at Nundle is to open and mix the scoured wool in preparation for carding.
After opening, processing oil and water is added to the wool to reduce fibre breakage and minimize static during carding.
MACHINE NO. 2 – THE CARDING MACHINE
Built by the Platt Co. in 1914 at Oldham England the Card was purchased in 1989 from J L McGregor Pty Ltd of Geelong.
In woollen processing the yarn is made in the card. The fibres are opened in the feed hopper, measured in the weigh pan and dumped onto the feed sheet ready for carding.
The carding process mixes and opens the mass of wool to individual fibres. The fibres are assembled into a web at the doffer at the end of the scribber (first) section. The large metal rollers in the Parelta section are used to crush any vegetable such as burrs in the fibre web.
The web is formed into a sliver to be transferred and turned across the card feed sheet via the Scotch feed connecting the scribber and carding sections together.
The carding section further mixes and opens the fibres using the finer wires of the worker and stripper rollers. The fibres are stripped off the carding section using the doffer roller and comb to produce a fine fibre web of constant weight and evenness.
This web is split into 100 narrow strips by the tapes in the condenser section before being rubbed with a false twist into slubbings (which we call cheese yarn) and wound into cheeses on one of the four levels of card spools. We wind about 1000 metres of continuous rubbed yarn from each strip onto the spool. Therefore 100 strips of 1000 metres is 100 kilometres of yarn, made every three hours. That is a lot of cheese yarn!
MACHINE NO. 3 – THE WHITIN SPINNING FRAME
The Whitin Spinning Frame was manufactured in the United States in the early 1950s.
The function of this machine is to draft and twist each of the cheese yarns or slubbings on the spool into single threads. The drafting draws out the fibres to the thickness required and the twist adds strength to the yarn. This machine, also from McGregor’s, has been reconditioned and shortened to match the four spool output of the Card.
MACHINE NO. 4 – THE DANDY ROVER
Built in 1938 by Prince, Smith and Stells in England, this machine has been converted to a Twister to suit our mill’s woollen spinning system.
The Dandy is now used for twisting (or plying) 3 or more threads (or ends) together to make the 8 and12 ply knitting yarns for the local Nundle knitters. Traditionally, an 8 ply yarn for example has 8 strands, hence that is how it got its name. However, more recently, the term 8 ply refers to the yarn thickness, basically a unit of measure. It is not important how many strands an 8 ply has, as long as it is the right thickness. Most 8 ply yarns these days have 3 for or 5 strands and should be labelled ‘equivalent to 8 ply’.
A special and unique feature of this machine is its ability to produce our special bulky yarns of 20 ply and 72 ply yarns.
MACHINE NO. 5 – THE HANK REELING MACHINE
Manufactured in Germany by Croon & Lucke, the Hanker winds yarn from cones or bobbins to a hank or skein ready for sale, or for dyeing into many colours in our Dye House on the other side of our building.
MACHINE NO 6 – THE DYE HOUSE
Yarn is dyed in hank form on rotating rollers in the dye bath using fibre reactive wool dyes. It takes about one hour to apply the dye under acid conditions for the lighter colours and a maximum of two hours for the darker shades. To finish the dyeing the excess dye stuff not exhausted is washed off and the wool is neutralised before spin drying.
The coloured yarn is then dried for a day in the sun outside on the drying racks.
MACHINE NO. 7 – THE CONE WINDER
The Cone Winding machine is used to wind the dyed yarn hanks onto cones ready for balling. Machine knitters can use this coned yarn directly on their machines.
MACHINE NO. 8 – THE BALL WINDING MACHINE
This machine winds balls to a predetermined shape and size.
The main use at Nundle is for winding 8 ply yarns from cone to a 50gm ball ready for sale to hand knitters.
The finished balls are labelled by hand at this stage.
Our traditionally made 8 ply, 20 ply and 72 ply feltable yarns originate from our farming partner, the Youl family at Elsdon.
Elsdon is a mixed farming operation situated in the Northern Midlands of Tasmania, 20 minutes south of Launceston. The property has been in the Youl family for over 200 years. Alex Youl is the 6th generation to manage the farm with his wife Liana and their children Sebastian and Louis.
The Elsdon Polwarth Studs were founded in the 1930s, by Alex’s great grandfather FVM Youl. On his retirement, Alex’s grandfather Bill and wife Kate took over the management of Elsdon, with their sons Frank and Crosby. Bill encouraged his sons to change direction, breeding Merino sheep under the guidance of Sandy MacKirdy from Hamilton in Victoria. Upon Bill’s early death in 1985, Crosby and Anne took over the management of the Stud and commercial operation.
With a significant investment of stud ewes and sires from Nareeb Nareeb, Ashrose and East Roseville, Elsdon has been able to produce sheep which are commercially competitive with anything that is bred within Tasmania or Victoria.
2005 was the last year that Elsdon sold stud rams. The stud rams and ewes remained on the property to become part of the commercial operation.
In the last 10 years Elsdon has focussed on breeding a modern Poll Merino with a plainer body and early maturing with high fertility. Their sires are being purchased from Glenlea Park in South Australia and Borana in Glen Thompson, Victoria.
Today, the Youl family grows crops to provide a grazing component for the livestock enterprises. This has been a winning combination with great results, increasing wool production of a superior standard.
The Youls feel privileged to provide the Nundle Woollen Mill with wool from Elsdon. To see the product from start to finish produced entirely in Australia is extremely satisfying.
Elsdon is committed to the health and welfare of their animals and the future of the Merino wool industry.
Even if you can’t get to the Mill, you can still buy the products we make and sell.
Nundle was one of the first wool producing areas in Australia, with the first land grants in the region being to the Australian Agricultural Company in 1837 (Goonoo Goonoo Station) and the Wombramurra Station in 1847.
The village of Nundle was established in 1853 on the northern corner of the Wombramurra run. Set on the banks of the Peel River, the village grew out of the gold rushes and there are several buildings and relics dating from this period.
By the 1860s the Nundle area was famous throughout the UK and Europe for producing the finest merino wool in the world, a tradition we aim to keep alive with the Mill.
Nundle is about 4½ hours from Sydney and 50 minutes from Tamworth.
The greatest reward for the passion we put into the Mill is that 30,000 people choose to travel here each year, to reconnect with Australia’s rich wool heritage and to see a traditional woollen mill in operation. We’re honoured that our Mill has been recognised in regional, state and national tourism awards.
Get in touch
Location: 35 Oakenville St Nundle, NSW, 2340 AUSTRALIA Tel: 1300 N-U-N-D-L-E (1300 686 353) Tel: + 61 2 6769 3330