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Beyond the Bale : September 2016
The jumper that the Australia Cricket team wears on the field is made of Merino wool with a very South Australian connection. The fibre is grown in the Flinders Ranges, processed by Michell Wool in the northern Adelaide suburb of Salisbury South, and knitted by manufacturer Silver Fleece in nearby Kilkenny. Australia players celebrate a wicket while wearing their Merino wool jumpers made by Silver Fleece, pictured here during the second cricket Test against New Zealand in Christchurch earlier this year – Australia won the Test by seven wickets. PHOTO: MARTY MELVILLE/AFP/Getty Images As Australia prepares for the highly anticipated Test series against South Africa in November, with the final match at the Adelaide Oval, one special partnership worth noting is that of Flinders Merino, Michell Wool and Silver Fleece. This dream team of South Australia’s wool industry is responsible for the cream cable knit Test jumper and vest donned by the Aussie cricket team. Sourced from the Flinders Merino woolgrower group, the 21 micron wool travels 300km or so south for processing at Michell Wool in the Adelaide suburbs, before being knitted into the jumpers and vests at the Silver Fleece’s factory, also in Adelaide. From there, the famous knitwear is couriered to Cricket Australia to be proudly worn on the global stage by Australia’s best cricketers. Silver Fleece director Cathy Barton says the company started making the Merino wool jumpers and vests about 40 years ago and liaises with current cricket sponsor Asics, who supplies Cricket Australia with the final product. “For 40 years the garments have ostensibly remained the same and have always been knitted using pure Australian wool and with the same striping sequence,” Ms Barton said. “We still can guarantee Australian wool and that is why we are pleased to have a relationship with the local Flinders Ranges group of growers and Michell Wool. This is a great story supporting our Australian representatives.” This is the first time, however, that the wool has been directly sourced from Flinders Merino, and according to the woolgrower group’s chairman Reuben Solly, they have Michell Wool to thank. “Silver Fleece contacted Michell looking for a suitable grower group to supply wool with a sustainable story for their Australian cricket team jumpers,” Reuben said. “As soon as Michell was contacted they straight away thought of us as we have been working with them in the past, and they knew that we were the ones to help them. “We had been trying to work with international companies but hadn’t any luck, and now we have picked up what we were looking for in our own backyard. To be able to see the end result on a national scale is absolutely brilliant. We can switch on the TV, watch the cricket and say ‘hey, look at those jumpers, they look bloody great. We were a part of making them and we are proud of it’.” Steven Read, CEO of Michell Wool – Australia's largest wool processor and marketer of wool – says they are very proud to facilitate this program with Flinders Merino and Silver Fleece, and benefit from seeing their woolgrower clients becoming part of the wool textile industry and move beyond the farm gate. “While it is clearly a wonderful marketing story having transparency in the supply chain to ensure that our iconic cricket sweater is made from locally sourced, high quality wool, there are other benefits to be had,” explained Mr Read. “These include improved quality control, better certainty and less volatility of pricing for both the grower and knitter as well as reduced costs in the supply chain with both the growers and knitter working directly with manufacturers. “Possibly less tangible – but something we believe is of great value – is the learning and understanding of the supply chain and processes involved, something that both the knitter and growers have seen during this program.” MORE INFORMATION Silver Fleece: www.silverfleece.com.au (08) 8118 6099 Michell Wool: www.michellwool.com (08) 8209 4400 AUSTRALIA BOWLED OVER BY ALL-ROUNDER STATE HOWZAT! 20 OFF FARM
In the Shops - September 2016