Victorian couple pushing for local yarn factory

Victorian couple pushing for local yarn factory

Coronavirus
Carly and Darren Noble have grand plans for the yarn their sheep produce. Photo by Brendan McCarthy.

Carly and Darren Noble have grand plans for the yarn their sheep produce. Photo by Brendan McCarthy.

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A central Victorian couple is turning to the public to help finance a yarn factory as COVID-19 exposes Australia's reliance on overseas manufacturers.

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A central Victorian couple is turning to the public to help finance a yarn factory as COVID-19 exposes Australia's reliance on overseas manufacturers.

Arnold farmers Carly and Darren Noble have launched a new campaign to help source money to back up investors on the $500,000 project.

"We started exploring this long before COVID-19 hit but the pandemic has made it 10 times more important," Mrs Noble said.

"If COVID-19 became COVID-24 and we got stuck in this process again, what will it look like? What if we were not reliant on an Australian supply chain?"

Governments found themselves with shortages of PPE gear early in the crisis.

Much of what was being produced in places like New Zealand, China, Italy and Vietnam could not go anywhere, Mrs Noble said.

"There was also all this wool sitting in Australian docks and no-one who could turn it into yarn," she said.

"It normally would take about six or eight weeks and then it would come back to Australia and put into fabric."

The only 100 per cent Australian processed yarn is the knitted variety used in products like socks, Mrs Noble said.

It is still too early to tell how the virus will change Australia, Bendigo Manufacturing Group chairman Mark Brennan said.

"It will take a while to get back to something like it was before. There's going to be a new normal and we don't know what that is yet," he said.

Existing central Victorian manufacturers are already changing work practices. One group has given production teams colour-coded uniforms and installed temperature readers at entrances.

"More innovation will come because of COVID-19, there is no doubt," Mr Brennan said.

Mrs Noble spent 2019 developing a patented, blended yarn inspired by hard-wearing weaves from the 19th century. It could be used to make emergency service personnel undergarments.

Those workers need hard-wearing goods that can be worn on the skin and which can be used for longer because they are not exposed to changes in fashion, Mrs Noble said.

"We are only small (wool breeders) and everyone tells us this is a pipeline dream."

It is something Mr Brennan hears all the time.

"You've got to have a go. Sure, you don't want to have a crack at something that is completely inane and stupid, but by the same token you don't know what is possible until you take the plunge.

"There's lots of people who say 'I wouldn't do that', but that does not mean someone shouldn't."

For more on the Noble's plan visit their "Yarn Manufacturing Facility" gofundme page.

The story Victorian couple pushing for local yarn factory first appeared on Bendigo Advertiser.

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