Waverley Woollen Mills

Waverley Woollen Mills, 1906 (AOT, PH30/1/2292)

Waverley Woollen Mills, Australia's oldest weaving mill and last blanket-weaving mill, was established by Peter Bulman at Distillery Creek, Launceston, in 1874. Bulman and his Scottish partners successfully claimed the colonial government's £1000 bonus for the first manufacture of all-Tasmanian woollen goods worth £1000. A waterwheel, then turbines drove the machinery and in 1889 Bulman introduced a hydro-electric system. After the partnership was dissolved in 1883 Bulman was joined by his brother-in-law, Robert Hogarth. Following Bulman's death in 1896, successive generations of Hogarths managed the mill until it was purchased by Victorians John and Peter Temple in 1981. John Fahey of Melbourne bought the mill from receiver/managers in 1990: in 2003 it operated 24 hours, seven days a week, employing 130 people.

Further reading: M Turnbull, 'The Bulman brothers', THRAPP 41/4, 1994; M Morris-Nunn & C Tassell, Launceston's industrial heritage, [Launceston], 1982; J Cassidy & E Wishart (eds), Launceston talks, [Launceston], 1990.

Barbara Valentine