Discover why fleece from Australia's sheep was at the heart of our economy for nearly 200 years.
Since the arrival of sheep with the First Fleet in 1788, the wool industry has dominated our economy, our agriculture and our reputation as a quality wool-growing nation throughout the world.
Geelong is a city synonymous with wool and the wool industry – sheep farming began here in 1835 and the first of many woollen mills opened here in 1868. For many years the city was known as the 'wool centre of the world'.
On 1 August 1872 the CJ Dennys & Co Woolstore (the home of the National Wool Museum) opened, adorning the corner of Moorabool and Brougham Streets, Geelong. At the time of opening, the basalt bluestone woolstore was the second largest store in Victoria and by many accounts the “most elaborate”. On the day of opening there was a banquet for 200 people on the third floor that was, of course, followed by a wool sale.
The Woolstore sits on Wadawurrung Country on the site of an ancient water way, a place of cultural significance. With invasion, Wadawurrung peoples’ lives changed forever, but they continued to live on country and many of their stories are captured in the museum displays.
When the Woolstore was opened it was an innovation in colonial architecture, with advanced design for lighting and ventilation. The bluestone came from Fyansford quarries (with the dressed portion from Ballarat) and the bricks came from the kiln in West Geelong.
In 1988 the National Wool Museum was opening by Queen Elizabeth II and established as Australia’s only comprehensive museum of wool. With its recently renovated galleries you will experience a renewed Australian Story.