Silk and Textiles

The Silk and Textiles factory (centre right, mass of white roof) in 1955, before the Brooker Highway was built. Prince of Wales Bay at bottom of photo (AOT, PH30/1/5192)

Silk and Textiles was formed in Sydney in 1939 by the Alcorso family. After 1945 they were looking for new premises, and Premier Cosgrove persuaded them with cheap electricity to come to Hobart in 1947. The factory spun, wove and printed raw silk, and used cotton for furnishings and sheets Silk and Textiles was the first in Australia to make coloured sheets. At its peak the factory employed 1400 people. It provided housing for immigrant workers, and involved the labour force in running the factory, with worker representation in the boardroom, a profit-sharing system and the first 40-hour week in Tasmania. Relations with workers were excellent.

Dunlop Australia took over in 1970, and subsequent changes in ownership (in 2004 Silk and Textiles was part of Sheridan) culminated in the plant moving to the mainland, the final section relocating in 2002.

Further reading: A Alexander, Glenorchy 18041964, Glenorchy, 1986.

Alison Alexander