Join Dr Lorinda Cramer as she presents a lecture on her 2023 National Library Fellowship research about the material history of Australian wool.
Entry is free to this event but bookings are essential.
Dr Lorinda Cramer is a 2023 National Library of Australia Fellow, supported by the Stokes family.
About Dr Lorinda Cramer's Fellowship research
Shoddy – woollen waste reconditioned into cheap cloth – posed a challenge for Australia's celebrated soft, fine wool. Produced from the 19th century, shoddy might be sold to unsuspecting customers in the guise of pure new wool. By the time Australian textile labelling legislation set out what could be described as wool in the 1940s, some consumers were bewildered by textiles and their fibre content. To reassure the buying public that it was something far superior to rough, poor-quality shoddy, the Australian Wool Board and the International Wool Secretariat – backed by the Australian government – launched new campaigns to educate consumers and promote Australia's fine merino.
These campaigns emphasised that wool was luxurious and trusted. They stressed how it was an Australian fibre for Australians. They also foregrounded the host of benefits when wool was worn on the body: helping its wearer stay snug in cool weather or insulated against Australia's searing heat, though also much more. This project aims to capture the ways in which consumers came to understand wearing wool, through being alert to its material dimensions and the interactions between cloth and skin; that is, by feeling superfine merino to counter inferior products.
About Dr Lorinda Cramer
2023 National Library of Australia Fellow Dr Lorinda Cramer is a social and cultural historian whose work explores the gendered dimensions of dress and textiles. With a professional background as a museum curator and collection manager, her research frequently incorporates material culture and a close reading of ‘things’. She is a Research Fellow in the Gender and Women’s History Research Centre in the Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences at the Australian Catholic University.
About National Library of Australia Fellowships
The National Library of Australia Fellowships program offers researchers an opportunity to undertake a 12-week residency at the Library. This program is supported by generous donors and bequests.
Image credit: Presentation of Wool Gold Medal Fashions 1961, supplement to the Australians Women’s Weekly. [Wool : ephemera material collected by the National Library of Australia]