Woollen yarns

Photo of men using F.G.R. Power Press on wool bales

For 150 years Sydney was the undisputed wool capital of the world.

From the 1850s wool washing businesses thrived in the area now known as Green Square town centre due to the large amounts of water that flowed through the site.

After the shearing season Sydney’s roads, railways and wharves were alive with activity. Teams of horses carted wool bales along Botany Road delivering wool to Waterloo Mills, Buckland Mills, Rose Valley and Quatre Bras. Here bales of wool were unpacked, washed and re-packed ensuring the wool was clean and white. They were then delivered to wool stores in Circular Quay and Darling Harbour for grading and sale and then off on ships to London.

Lakeside wool wash and drying green at Botany, 1899 Image: Courtesy of State Library NSW

Hinchcliffe St is named after Andrew Hinchcliffe who owned The Waterloo Mills on the Big and Little Waterloo Dam.

Ebsworth Street is named after Octavius Bayliffe Ebsworth, a wool broker and manufacturer who owned a wool washing business beside Shea's Creek. He imported the latest English machinery so he could process 600 to 800 hundred fleeces an hour.

In the 1860s, Ebsworth's tweed factory was also the largest in the colony. Tweed Place commemorates this factory.

Main image: Men using F.G.R. Power Press on wool bales. City of Sydney Archives 045/045028.