The sheep to sleep story

4 June 2012

An all-Australian cast plays its part in producing the sheep to sleep story for Woolmark licensee Zenger Australia, with the entire production process taking part on Aussie soil.


This is not the latest blockbuster to hit our big screen, but rather tells the story of the production pipeline involved inproducing Zenger bedding products.

The interior textiles sector – including bedding, carpets and furnishing – supports woolgrowers whose clip is of a broader micron.

Before the Woolmark-approved Zenger Australia bedding products, under the Golden Sovereign brand, arrive in shops to be sold to consumers, the woollen fibre undergoes a journey that begins on the sheep’s back.

One of the properties that has produced wool used in Zenger bedding products is Garry and Pam Heath’s property ‘Heathcote’ in Balliang, Victoria.

A fifth-generation farmer, Mr Heath knows the land and knows how to produce a dense fleece ideal for the bedding and interior market.

“There are certain properties which make for good wool in bedding,” Mr Heath told The Woolmark Company for a promotional video being made for Zenger Australia. “For the bedding and interiors market we like a nice, white wool which is not too long. We also produce a prime lamb that makes for good market skin value.”

A true testament to the benefits of woollen bedding, Mr Heath is still nimble despite enduring back-breaking work all his life.

“I shear our own sheep and in the past couple of years have just given up shearing for many of the local farmers. I have been shearing since I was 18 years old, but my back’s still quite good,” he said, admitting he is not yet reading to hang up his clippers.

The Heath’s clip, once shorn, is baled and continues its journey, with its next stop being the EP Robinson processing plant in Geelong.

Operated for more than 30 years, the scouring and carbonising plant is a true survivor after so many mills have closed down and moved off-shore. It remains an independent mill, with owner Jim Robinson believing it is important for processing to remain in Australia – not only for biosecurity reasons but also to continue the legacy and patriotism of the entire wool production pipeline.

“At one stage there were four wool processors in town; we’re the last but the future looks good for us,” Mr Robinson said. “As long as investment continues into the business we can compete with off-shore plants and continue producing a reliable supply of wool.

“Since we started operating in 1980 we generally have 45 employees on board, with the mill running 24/7 in peak season from November to April. It’s good, honest work and we see the wool come in and then send it off to the specifications of clients.”

One such client is Zenger Australia, with its factory located in Sydney.

It is here where the transformation from woollen fibres to quilts and pillows and underlays takes place.

Established in 1996 Zenger is one of the largest wool bedding product manufacturers in Australia, with company representative Andy Chan saying that quality lays at the forefront of production.

“Here at Zenger each and every employee prides themselves on quality, which is why not only the finest quality materials are used but quality is at the forefront of all business decisions, ensuring a   finished product of the highest possible standard,” Mr Chan said.

And with Australia being the world leader in producing the finest quality wool, it is no wonder Zenger Australia sources all its wool from the local market.

So high is the quality which surrounds Zenger that it is licensed to use the Woolmark stamp of approval on its products, so consumers know they are buying 100 per cent woollen products.

And this quality assurance provides consumers with peace of mind that lets their dreams begin.