Sunday, 21 May 2017

Geelong Gems

We've had a wonderful day today exploring Geelong starting with the National Textile Museum. We spent an enjoyable hour and a half in the museum and it seems timely as we have both just finished reading The Shepherd's Life by James Rebanks. Our friend Jan lent it to us and it was perfect timing after our Beatrix Potter experience that included visiting a Herdwick sheep farm in the Lakes last year. If you are interested in sheep farming it is a great read and all set in the beautiful Lake District in the UK……..
 We have such great respect for the Herdwick sheep and all that Beatrix Potter did to make sure they were farmed correctly, so today seeing the Australian perspective was also inspiring. The Museum is housed in an old wool store……

 As one walks up to the main exhibits you pass an impressive 1910 Axminster loom donated by Brinton's Carpets. It uses the Jacquard system of 1,992 punch cards and 1,323 bobbins and the carpet design has been especially designed with the Australian landscape colours in mind………..

 It was very quiet so we had a one on one conversation with the experienced weaver. It was rewarding to see each colour weaving the intricate design……….
and all dependent on these punch cards……...
 As you walk through the museum you learn more about the history of sheep farming in our vast nation…..this flock of 75,172 merino wethers in 1988 makes you realise how big farms could be……...

 Early settlers thought they could farm like they did in Britain but that soon proved to be wrong so new methods were established still based on traditional methods. Unfortunately the land was desecrated from sheep farming and the introduction of english wild rabbits resulted in competition for food.  Sheep breeding became a science and it was fascinating to read about the interbreeding of different breeds in search of quality wool and meat. 
 This is Blossom, a Border Leicester/Merino cross and I think her name matches that face……..
 South Australia developed the well known merino and a ram was sold in 1989 in our home town of Adelaide for $450,000 and this record price has never been beaten…………
 This is Bilby Bill developed originally in New Zealand in the 1930's and imported to Australia in 1975. This wool is mainly used for carpets….
 I took over 100 photos in the museum so it has been hard to share them all! But we now know more about the incredibly hard year that sheep farmers endure and of the process of getting fleece to textile by combing, gilling, weaving and more!!………. 

a sock maker……….
and the fascinating story of the teazel used to fluff the blankets! 

 We were ready for a coffee and by this time it was lunch so we shared a delicious pumpkin pizza…….
 Following lunch we did the mandatory walk along the foreshore to see the sights……...

 We managed another late coffee at Queenscliff where some of the architecture impressed……..

 Tomorrow we are planning on taking the train to Melbourne so more of that soon x


  1. Lovely to see your trip photos, and happy anniversary for the other day. Enjoy you time together. xx

  2. love seeing everything - so interesting to read the history. I have read a lot of novels that take place in Australia and the sheep stations of years gone by - back in the 1800's everything was so isolated in some of these places I really wonder how the women survived it. I have never had pumpkin pizza! that is new to me - was the crust made from pumpkin or is is mashed and put on the top?

  3. More beautiful pictures thank you. Just wondering now why the Geelong Textile Museum cannot be expanded to include the needs of our other textiles and fibre history, as per Lion Quilt? Such a lovely venue. Hmmm space perhaps?

  4. I found this to be your most interesting post. Thanks for it.

  5. You are so good at taking photos on your trips. Your blog is like a lovely travel diary. The Textile Museum looks fabulous, I'll put it on my must-do list.


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