The IWTO Conference at Tongxiang-Puyuan in China has just concluded.

Known as the Capital-of-Sweaters and the City-of-Fashion, this renowned trade area blends old with new. The ancient water town offers an authentic cultural experience, its tranquillity contrasting with a dynamic industry presence. The complete wool manufacturing chain is represented: spinning, knitting, dyeing, and finishing.The Puyuan sweater market features 15 ready made garment trading areas, 13.200+ retail outlets within 1.7 km2.

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Donald McGauchie AO, Chairman of AWTA Ltd retires today after 23 years of service. Donald was appointed as an independent Director in 1999, Deputy Chairman in 2001 and has been Chairman for the past 17 years. Donald brought with him extensive and relevant agricultural experience from his substantial family property, Terrick West Estate, a sheep and cropping enterprise near Bendigo, Victoria and having served as President of the National Farmers’ Federation. Adding to this, he also brought important commercial and governance knowledge from his roles on boards of a number of public company boards including Telstra, Nufarm, GrainCorp, the Reserve Bank of Australia and Australian Agricultural Company.

Donald has made a significant contribution to the Australian Wool and Grain industry and was in 2004 appointed an Office of the Order of Australia.

Under the guidance of Donald, AWTA has grown substantially over the past 23 years, including expansion of its footprint and breadth of testing services beyond its wool roots. This has not only protected, but enhanced the financial strength of AWTA over a period when wool production fell significantly.

Donald’s retirement from the AWTA Board is effective from 21 October 2022, with current Deputy Chairman Gordon Dickinson appointed as new Chairman. Gordon has been a Director of AWTA since 2005 and has significant business and wool growing experience.

The AWTA Board is also pleased to announce that Alexandra Gartmann, has been appointed as an independent director and Deputy Chair effective from 21 October 2022. Alexandra brings extensive executive agricultural, financial and strategic experience to AWTA. Alexandra’s executive career includes senior roles at Bendigo & Adelaide Bank and as CEO of Rural Bank, the Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal and The Birchip Cropping Group. She is the current Chair of the Victorian Agriculture & Climate Change Council, Trustee of the Helen MacPherson Smith Trust, Director of the Australian Farm Institute and the One Basin CRC. Alexandra was recently appointed to the board of Nufarm.

Further Information:
Contact: Michael Jackson – Managing Director

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Applications for 2023 scholarships close on Friday 25th November 2022.

The Trust supports 15 Undergraduate Project Scholarships per year (available to suitable applicants from any University), each of which is valued at $7,000 – with $3500 being allocated to the student and the balance to the University to fund its support for the student.

The University and the student may negotiate how these funds will be split and, consequently the split of the funds must be specified in the application.

These scholarships are available to Honours or other appropriate undergraduate students undertaking a one year research project relevant to sheep and wool. This relevance is the most significant criterion considered by the selection panel in assessing applications

Students planning appropriate Masters by Coursework studies can also apply for these scholarships.

Applicants must download the following 3 documents:

Scholarship Application Instructions

Scholarship Application Form

Academic Referee’s Assessment

Applications for these scholarships must be made directly to the Trust and must be supported by an academic referee from the University at which the student is enrolled or intends to enrol.

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His Royal Highness, King Charles III, Patron Campaign for Wool.

“It is abundantly clear to me that we need to make changes to the way we think about the production, use and the disposal of clothing and textiles if we are going to get anywhere near to meeting the United Nations climate change goals set for the industry. A major part of that change has to be moving from a linear system to a circular one, where textiles and clothing are produced sustainably, enjoy long use, and are made using natural materials, specifically wool, which will biodegrade naturally and quickly at the end of their useful life”.

Wool is an overlooked planet-friendly fibre, and an informative film by the Campaign for Wool aims to highlight wool’s natural eco properties, including its biodegradability, along with circular economy, regenerative farming and feed management in relation to reducing carbon and methane gas emissions.

Why Wool Matters.

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AWI’s marketing arm The Woolmark Company this week launched a powerful marketing campaign highlighting to consumers that synthetic fibres are made from oil, whereas wool is a 100% natural, renewable and biodegradable fibre. The global campaign urges consumers to consider the fibre composition of a clothing product – and choose wool – when they are thinking of making a purchase.

Wear Wool – Not Fossil Fuel

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This series of videos outlines the process of sampling, testing and certification of wool growers’ classed lots before sale either at auction or directly to dealers or processors. The videos were produced b the University of New England utilising funding provided by AWET via a Small Initiatives Grant. Production was overseen and the narration provided by Dr Emma Doyle.


Sample Receival and Sub-sampling

Scouring and Drying

Vegetable Matter Contamination

Residual Grease and Ash

Primary Methods

Secondary Method – NIR

Fibre Fineness

Staple Length, Strength and Position of Break

The Australian Wool Testing Authority Ltd has produced a brochure, Testing the Wool Clip, which provides a comprehensive overview of its wool testing and certification services. This publication is a little dated as AWTA Ltd’s Sydney Laboratory has been closed and the brochure does not cover the introduction of NIR for determination of residual grease and dirt. Furthermore AWTA Ltd Certificates are now distributed as PDF files with printed documents on certificate stationary provided upon request.

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Natural Fibre Connect is an online conference taking place on 7-9 September 2022 for the alpaca, cashmere, mohair, and wool industries.

As the effects of climate change and market fluctuations continue to grow, it is more important than ever before to understand the impact on growers and herders at the beginning of our supply chains — their prosperity is vital for safeguarding the future of the sector and making real progress towards our sustainability goals. The virtual event will cover trends, challenges, and innovations within the four industries and how they are impacting growers and herders around the world. In turn, we will look at how the growers and herders themselves are shaping the future of the sector.

The event will welcome over 1000+ guests from around the world, including growers, processors, brokers, manufacturers, brands, NGOs, and government stakeholders invested in the natural fibres sector. As the name of the conference suggests, the focus will be to connect all actors of the supply chain, exchange knowledge and insights and work together toward reaching the Sustainable Development Goals.

The 3 live days are filled with expert speakers, recorded talks, and roundtable discussions aimed at tackling the common challenges of the alpaca, cashmere, mohair, and wool industries.

Attendees will benefit from plenty of networking opportunities including access to the virtual exhibition hall where they can connect with fibre supply chain companies, NGOs, and government organisations invested in making the natural fibre industries more sustainable.

Topics discussed during the three-day conference will be:

  • Life Cycle Assessment for natural fibres
  • The realities of animal welfare – challenges growers and herders face
  • Putting social welfare on the agenda – getting natural fibres to be recognised as the engine of rural economies
  • How to unlock regenerative agriculture for arid regions
  • How traceability is reshaping the industry – and our lives
  • How green finance can support growers and herders
  • The opportunities for web 3.0 for the textile industry

The event platform is available in English, Spanish, and Chinese. There will be 2 sessions per day discussing the same topics with different speakers: First session (7:00-10:00 UTC) Second session (14:00-17:00 UTC).

An overview of the schedule can be viewed here.

More information and tickets about the event can be found here.

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The RAS Foundation provides scholarships to help rural Australians realise their potential through education, make a difference in their community and achieve their ambitions.

To find out more click here.

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AWET Provides 30 grants each year to selected students in their final year at a number of Australian Fashion Schools. The students are required to incorporate 80% wool into their final collections.

Curtin University in WA is one of the participating schools and receives 2 grants. Videos produced by this year’s graduating students are available for sharing.

Yin Yang, 2021
Designer – Xiaotong Li
Videography – Peter Hayes

This fashion collection uses the concept of Yin and Yang to integrate Eastern elements into Western structures to find a balance between traditional culture and modern trends. Yin and Yang is a simple and broad ancient Chinese philosophy. It is the endless darkness that makes people fear, and it is also the eternal light that makes people breathe. Anything in the world can be Yin and Yang, black and white, day and night, water and fire, reality and dreams, seemingly polarized individuals, each with its own power and mystery. Like the Yin and Yang symbol, the colours of black and white are both contradictory and complementary. The bipolar elements of ethnicity and fashion, beauty and purity, complexity and simplicity, rigidity and softness reach a new harmony under the interaction of Yin and Yang. Heaven and Earth constantly balance, endlessly, and finally constitute all things.

View Video

Enduring Archetypes, 2021
Designer – Lily Cribb
Videography – Ashlee McVernon

Existing ideologies and cultural perceptions of fashion invite change. For centuries the formal suit and its accompanying elements have remained consistent European fashion artifacts acting as a vessel for social and political communication. Sustainable fashion, however, is established with natural, flowing and simplistic signifiers. These aren’t inherently undesirable qualities, but their association with current sustainable fashion archetypes encourages this perception of mundanity. The combination of sustainable fashion and formal wear in Enduring Archetypes is an attempt to catalyse a change in perception. Natural dyes and wool fibres are used to transform the suit into an object of excitement and necessity, ultimately creating a new sustainable fashion archetype which is environmentally and stylistically more enduring.

View Video

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The 2022 AAAS conference program is being thoughtfully prepared to entice innovation and blue-sky thinking, and to pull our knowledge and expertise together to make our science impactful to all animal industries. We are not only at the cutting edge of animal science, but we are also in a unique position to help shape the future direction of agricultural and ecological services.

Visit the event website.

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