A troupe of 70 volunteers from the greater Ballarat region are helping keep the wool manufacturing industry alive in regional Victoria.
The Creswick Woollen Mills – recent winner of the RACV tourism award – is the last coloured wool spinning mill in Australia.
Cheap international imports have been killing off competition in the Australian manufacturing industry, with over 50 mills having closed in recent years.
But the Creswick mill is going from strength to strength.
Executive director Boaz Herszfeld puts this down to their broadening into other industries.
“Tourism saved manufacturing and retail saved tourism,” he says.
The overwhelming generosity of volunteers has also played a huge role in the success of the mill, as they help spread the word and increase visitors.
Volunteering has also given many local retiree’s the opportunity to participate in the community.
The mill held a Christmas lunch on Thursday to thank volunteers for their important contribution.