Ever wondered how blankets are made? Most South Australian’s would have heard of Onkaparinga blankets – good quality pure wool made in Lobethal in the Adelaide Hills until 1993.
At the Onkaparinga Woollen Mill Museum a knowledgeable group of volunteers can explain the production process, from the spinning and weaving to sizing and finishing. The Mill produced a huge range of products besides blankets, including fabrics for the fashion industry, car seat upholstery, and wartime service uniforms. The museum has a vast collection of fabric samples, all beautifully catalogued and cared for. It is very interesting to see machines used at the Mill set-up as if ready to operate. The introductory DVD too gives an idea of the complexity and skill involved in both designing and producing woven fabrics. Those shuttlecocks sure move fast, whizzing the yarn from one side to the other.
I recently visited the Museum to help them do risk assessments in preparation for developing a disaster preparedness and response plan. The museum has some particular potential disaster issues, not least of which is the susceptibility to insect attack of much of the textile collection. The museum is also located near a creek and the Mill site has a history of flooding. But the museum already takes lots of steps to avoid potential disasters such as by maintaining the buildings to best of available resources, keeping machinery raised off the floor and storing documents and fabric samples in the largest number of Albox crates I have seen concentrated in the one museum!
The Angaston & Penrice Historical Society is launching the A&H Doddridge Blacksmith Shop Cultural Tourism Enhancement Project on Friday 30 March from 5.30 pm.
Members of the public are invited to come and experience one of the few remaining main street smithies in South Australia. The heritage listed blacksmith’s shop at 19 Murray Street, Angaston is a working museum dedicated to the skills of the blacksmith. It is rich in history with over 130 years of blacksmithing at the site and many of the original tools and equipment on display.
The open night is also an occasion to launch a new short promotional video about the shop by award-winning digital filmmaker Ash Starkey. The engaging film which features interviews with Doddridge family members as well as volunteers tells the story of the building as well as the people who used it both in the past and the present. It can be viewed here
The project, which has been supported by The Barons of the Barossa, Angaston Management Group, Angaston Lions Club, Kerrie and Charles Kiefel, is aimed at enhancing this unique historic site’s tourism experience. The night will also launch the roof restoration appeal. Repairs to the stonework, gutters and down pipes began in 2009 but the now badly rusted roof urgently requires recladding with corrugated iron.
This community project has enabled the Angaston & Penrice Historical Society achieve a number of successful outcomes, in particular allowing the heritage-listed building to be kept open to the public and maintained for the future. The group have identified sources of information and material relating to the history of the Doddridge family and the Blacksmith Shop and been able to develop a consistent story for the guides to talk to visitors on their arrival. They have worked with the Artist Blacksmiths Association of South Australia to teach novice blacksmiths the art and liaised with local teachers to develop a local history experience in Angaston. In addition, the new film will be used to invite school groups to visit the blacksmith shop as well as learn what blacksmithing is and the important role blacksmiths played in the past. It will also help to attract and train more volunteer blacksmiths and guides to be involved in the roster from 1-4 pm on Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays.
The invitation to the launch and open night is open to the general public but RSVPs would be appreciated. Contact Trish Gransbury on (08) 8564 3222 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Every Year the Embroiderers’ Guild of SA and the Embroiderers’ Guild Museum hold an exhibition to coincide with the Adelaide Fringe Festival. This year the theme was ‘Medieval’ and last week I went to the launch of ‘A Bouquet of Medieval Stitches’.
The annual Fringe event is an exhibition of Guild members’ work, showcasing the significance of embroidery and textile art in people’s lives and the talents and many diverse areas of expertise of Guild members. Each year a different theme is chosen and it was interesting to see the different takes on medieval that exhibitors have taken – focussing on certain colours, styles or stitches, and using well known medieval embroidery icons as the inspiration for modern pieces of work.
The Embroiderers’ Guild Museum complements every Fringe exhibition with an exhibition of its own, so drawing on its substantial and fully documented collections, this year the museum is displaying actual medieval period and medieval themed embroideries. The whole Guild premises are bursting with colour, intricate stitching and some interesting takes on the medieval theme.
The exhibition is open until 17 March 10 – 4 daily and until 8pm on Thursdays.