Australian Wool Network launches Kangaroo Island Wool brand project

Terry Sim, July 30, 2015
Kangaroo Island Wool family Ros, Mitch and Tasha Wilson with Mickey the Kelpie and a Merino lamb.

Kangaroo Island Wool family Ros, Mitch and Tasha Wilson with Mickey the Kelpie and a Merino lamb.

AUSTRALIAN Wool Network has launched its unique Direct Network Advantage wool supply program, linking a branded garment to woolgrowers on South Australia’s Kangaroo Island.

Members of the Kangaroo Island Wool company represent the first district to join the DNA scheme, to supply wool for KI-branded garments that will be available at 230 retail outlets around Australia, including at international airports.

The DNA concept enables retail consumers to follow the journey of wool from bale to garment and allows woolgrowers to potentially have their own district knitwear brand.

A key element of the DNA program is a QRC tag (Quick Response Code) on each garment that can be scanned by a smart phone to show a video of how Kangaroo Island wool is produced. This innovation is expected to have strong appeal to international consumers, AWN said.

Wool growers around Australia are now being invited to join AWN and submit wool that meets a range of specifications suitable for the DNA program and the end product.

And AWN will also show growers attending Hamilton’s Sheepvention next week how wool of certain specification matches individual garments, so they can aim produce to that standard.

After AWN’s DNA launch in Adelaide last week, KIW member Mitch Willson said the company members were very dedicated Merino wool growers who wanted to produce a KI-branded garment. He said AWN was paying a small premium under the program for correct specification wool.

He said the Willson family and others had found it “pretty tough” to produce and market a woollen jumper 20 years ago. It was hoped the KIW-AWN partnership would overcome any marketing hurdles.

Mr Willson said he personally felt it is “a great thing” for a woolgrower to see their wool in a garment.

AWN’s DNA wool supply program was developed as a result of their purchase of knitwear manufacturer Hysport Pty Ltd. One of the products to be available under this scheme is the luxury knitwear label MerinoSnug, one of Hysport’s premier clothing brands which is made from Australian Merino wool and New Zealand possum fur.

AWN said the MerinoSnug knitwear range is manufactured wholly in Australia using state of the art ‘whole of garment’ knitting machines, and the warm, lightweight garments are in high demand particularly from the tourism and travel retail sector.

AWN’s vision is to bring growers and processors together

John Colley2 AWN managing director

AWN managing director John Colley

Australian Wool Network managing director John Colley said AWN had started in 1999 with a vision to bring wool growers and processors closer together.

“It sounds simple and the first steps were to work more closely with the existing processors which has worked well and we still use this approach today.

“But we wanted to go further and link the woolgrower and their wool to the garment and this we achieved last year when we purchased Hysport,” he said.

“By controlling wool processing from bale to retail we are in charge of some of the associated costs, enabling us to potentially offer a better price for specific wool types, as well as be much more aware of consumer desires.

“We believe that the DNA program will appeal to wool growers wanting to make a genuine contribution to driving demand for their wool as well as those looking to take advantage of the benefits that come when selling their wool direct,” he said.

Wool growers wanting to find out more about the DNA wool supply program should contact their local AWN Wool Specialist or visit

AWN MerinoSnug knitwear on display at Sheepvention

A Hysport MerinoSnug wrap

A Hysport MerinoSnug wrap

Australian Wool Network will display a range of knitwear produced by their Hysport knitwear manufacturing plant at this year’s Sheepvention in Hamilton on 3 and 4 August.

But the display will also show woolgrowers the specifications of the wool that goes into each garment and how the wool they produce can influence the end product. AWN said if growers can produce to the right specification for the garment they can potentially achieve a better price for their wool.

AWN senior wool specialist Maurice Jolly said it could be better to shear at seven months to meet a certain length requirement, or change the feeding pattern to influence the strength of the fibre.

“As well as the opportunity of selling their wool direct to the mill and the price benefit this brings we are finding that wool growers are also attracted to the concept that their wool is going into a particular garment, which gives them a great deal of satisfaction in what they have produced.

“By controlling wool processing from bale to retail we can control some of the associated costs, enabling us to potentially offer a better price for specific wool types.”

The AWN Sheepvention stand will be attended by Hysport chief executive officer Rod Murray and national sales manager Melinda Haycraft.

Hysport’s manufactures its MerinoSnug garments at its Melbourne suburban plant at Seaford. The plant’s production capacity was recently expanded with an electronic knitting machine that can make jumpers, cardigans, shawls, beanies, scarves and gloves.

Source: Australian Wool Network


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  1. Kate Welz, April 21, 2016

    Where can people buy Kangaroo Island woollen jumpers in Adelaide? Editor’s note: Kate, Australian Wool Network’s national marketing manager Cynthia Jarratt has told me the MerinoSnug garments with Kangaroo Island Wool should start to hit the shelves next month. Find your nearest stockist on

  2. I’d love to buy mum a pink zip cardigan that I saw on Landline. Can I order that through you please?
    Congratulations on what a wonderful job you are doing ! ☺ I look forward to your reply. Editor’s note: Order through Jane.


    Jane ☺

  3. Noelene Turner, November 15, 2015

    Please inform me just where I can purchase KI woollen garments as shown on Landline ABC today. A list of available products would assist – they look so amazing so am looking forward to where that can be purchased in Sydney/NSW.

    • Terry Sim, November 16, 2015

      You could try contacting Kangaroo Island Wool Pty Ltd.
      PO Box 16, Kingscote,
      Kangaroo Island, South Australia 5223
      [email protected]
      Telephone +61 8 8553 2485

      Regards, Terry Sim

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