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Johnstons of Elgin - an entry from the archives

OUR FINE WOOLS

October 2019

At Johnstons of Elgin, we are proud to work with many different natural fibres including vicuna, cashmere and wool. Our very first products included woollen “scouring” blankets made using the fleeces of local sheep and sold to our local hospital in Elgin. Today the wools we use are amongst the finest in the world and make the most incredibly soft, comfortable and desirable products.

We share a long history with the softest, highest quality Australian merino wool. The first merino sheep were introduced to Australia in 1797, the same year Johnstons of Elgin was established. We continue to support the Australian merino-growing industry, helping to maintain the economy in an area where the land is best suited to this use.

James Johnston's very first order for cashmere from 1851 from our archive books

Wool, like cashmere, is a 100% natural product. It is produced without the use of fertilisers or intensive watering schemes. The sheep feed on the grass and the grass is nourished by the sheep in a natural cycle which is carefully managed by farmers to ensure the pastures are protected for the long-term. The fibres of wool and cashmere are compostable so, when discarded, they disintegrate into the natural elements without leaving toxins in the earth.

We have recently been certified to use Responsible Wool Standard wool for some of our products. The Responsible Wool Standard, RWS, is a voluntary global standard that addresses the welfare of sheep and the land they graze on.

James Johnston's very first order for cashmere from 1851 from our archive books

The practice of mulesing has attracted much publicity. While mulesing can be avoided in some regions, in others it is the best defence against blowfly infestations which would otherwise cause severe pain and even death in the sheep. We only buy wool which comes from non-mulesed flocks or where the mulesing has been done with appropriate pain relief. Wherever possible we chose non-mulesed options to encourage the development of alternatives to this practice.

Merino wool is incredibly soft but is also durable and resilient. It can retain up to 30% of its own weight in water, while still feeling dry to the touch. Capable of keeping the wearer warm in cold weather and cool in the sun, merino wool also offers natural protection from the sun’s rays. It is quick drying and naturally resistant to static. As merino sheep produce and shed a new fleece every year it is very much part of a natural circle of life.

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