Historical information

The minutes book of the Warrnambool Woollen Mill are an important record of the beginnings of one of Warrnambool's major industries for close to one hundred years. They record the struggle in the early days of 1909 and 1910 to raise the capital. Also mentioned is the support which had been given by local people of small means who were prepared to back the enterprise while those with financial means had been rather more reserved. Apart from a Mr Vidler all the initial directors were initially working in an honorary capacity. They lamented the fact that local banks held half a million pounds on fixed interest so there was no shortage of money. The first directors were appointed in March 1909 : Jas. Worland, W H Philpott, G S Mackay, E H Price, S McDonald, J C Beeching, W Rogers ,J Marfell, J Deany, Jas Duirs, Jas. Ponting, H Jessen, S Nettleton, J Blain, J Gooden, Drs. Holmes, Henderson and Powell. Mr J E Bennett was secured as first manager of the mill in 1910
Over the ten year period of this book there is much discussion on possible returns and share prices as well as decisions relating to the operation of and production from the mill. Within four years they were using more yarn than they were producing. Electricity was connected around 1914 and by 1915 shareholders were receiving eight percent return on their investment and were also contributing to the first world War effort by supplying blankets. Assets continued to accumulate and building was also continued with sandstone being quarried from the site and rain water tanks and asphalt floors installed, all contributing to savings. By 1917 The Warrnambool Woollen Mill was considered to be one of the states best investments and it continued to prosper through the years.
The second minutes book likewise records similar events and circumstances for the period 1933-1945. This like wise is an interesting period, covering the period of the second World War.
In 1955 the Warrnambool Woollen Mill formed a partnership with the Wangaratta Woollen Mills. Dunlop bought the mill in 1968. From that time until its closure in 2000 it had a number of different owners, the last being the Smith Family Industries.


These minutes books hold an important information regarding the establishment and early operation of one of Warrnambool's major industries. The mill itself has strong connection to the Warrnambool community and many of the names mentioned as directors and shareholders have held positions within the community as businessmen and city officials. These minutes add another dimension to their contribution to Warrnambool.

Physical description

.1Navy blue hard card cover with cloth spine. White label glued to front cover.186 pages.There are handwritten entries in black ink which are interspersed with reports from newspaper.
.2 Pale grey cloth cover on early Kalamazoo filing system 612 pages of typed minutes .

Inscriptions & markings

.1There are dates from 1910 through to 1923. Minutes have been signed by chairman of directors, M Saltau.label on front cover has blue stamp, The Warrnambool Woollen Mill Company. hand written above in black ink "opened 24th March 1909."
.2 dated from May 1933 to September 1945. Signatures include M Saltau, James Disckson and Fletcher Jones.