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S P E C I A L I S E D T E X T I L E S A S S O C I AT I O N I N C .






History of canvas IN AUSTRALIA PART II

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27/03/2015 11:05 am


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PROGRAM OF EVENTS SAT 27 JUNE AGM AFL match at the MCG Young Members Happy Hour Welcome Reception



Keynote Breakfast with Comedian Jeff Green

Exhibition open from 10am -4pm

Exhibition open from 10am -4pm

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Business Sessions and workshops on trade floor

1940’s Theme Dinner

WiT Afternoon Tea Awards for Excellence Dinner, Master of Ceremonies Paul McDermott

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Self-adhesive vinyl.


STA NEWS Report from acting STA president, Glenn Barlow.







17 18

IFAI award-winners. Robert Bull becomes EH Brett shareholder. Ricky Richards’ Townsville skate park. Obituaries. Ken Stone’s ANZAC contributions.



15 16

John Clarke explains advances in digital measuring and patterning.


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SME FOCUS Top tips to building a first rate website.





Oakland’s Marine Fabricators’ Convention.

44 48

Tarpaulins – state of the industry. The evolution of leather production in the textiles industry.

MEMBER PROFILE Rick Haggerty and Elizabeth Machines.

Meet Warwick Merry. STA’s business accreditation program.

BUSINESS Kerrie Canning and Cheryl Disher from HR Advice Online explain changes to annual leave loading.

FEATURES The history of canvas in Australia – part II.

34 38

INDUSTRY TRAINING Glenn Barlow on state training alignment plans.


EVENTS Upcoming events for the specialised textiles industry, locally and internationally.



27/03/2015 11:08 am

Stainless Steel Hardware




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17/04/14 1:37 PM


Welcome to the Autumn issue of Connections


nd so we relax into the ‘season of mists and mellow fruitfulness’. While for some autumn may denote a calming down after the fun and frivolity of the summer, the specialised textiles industry and, in particular, the Specialised Textiles Association seem to be busier than ever. The STA has been particularly active of late, with a slate of new initiatives now seeing the light of day. There’s the much more user-friendly new website, the long-planned launch of the Business Accreditation scheme and the activities planned to celebrate the Association’s 75th anniversary this year. You can read about all of this and more in the STA’s Report on page 10. Of course, the Association is also gearing up for its annual expo and trade show, SpecTex15, which this year will be held in Melbourne from 27 to 29 June. If you book before the end of April, you can take advantage of a great Early Bird offer, so what are you waiting for? Just to whet your appetites, we’re including a profile of this year’s MC, Warwick Merry (page 34) – known as the ‘Get More Guy’, the undeniably dynamic Warwick is sure to make this year’s expo one to remember. Elsewhere in this edition of Connections, we look at the tarpaulin industry, how it’s changed over the years and the realities facing those in the industry today (page 44). We also take a peek at the history of leather, to learn about the different types out there and discover a little about its application, including in the motor trimming industry (page 48). Our marine trimmers have had a specially fantastic start to the year, with Australian industry members travelling overseas and winning awards right, left and centre. You can read all about the triumphs of such industry stalwarts as Dave Elliott and Neil Hancock in the News section (page 14) and at the MFA Convention (page 40). We also have the next part of our history of canvas in Australia (page 28) as well as all the regular features such as Design, Technology, Industry Training and Member Profile. I hope you’ll find something to edify and entertain you in this issue of Connections, but if you feel there’s something else you’d welcome in the magazine, as always, please feel free to drop us a line and let us know. Madeleine Swain Editor

Editorial Contributions by the STA Editorial committee ASSOCIATION MANAGER Ana Drougas MARKETING & EVENTS COORDINATOR Kiah Struck EDITOR Madeleine Swain Design ART DIRECTOR Keely Atkins PRODUCTION MANAGER Sonia Salera


Connections magazine is published on behalf of the Specialised Textiles Association Inc by Niche Media Pty Ltd ABN 13 064 613 529 142 Dorcas Street, South Melbourne, Vic 3205 Tel: 03 9948 4900 / Fax 03 9948 4999 Printing Docklands Press Pty Ltd Cover image Unnamed sail maker from EH Brett’s archives.












Specialised Textiles Association 201/22 St Kilda Rd, St Kilda Vic 3182 Tel: 03 9521 2114 / Fax: 03 9521 2116 Email:

NEXT ISSUE OF CONNECTIONS The Winter issue of Connections is our pre-expo edition, so you’ll be able to find everything you need in order to properly prepare for SpecTex15 – the full program timetable, a list of exhibitors and profiles of all the speakers and presenters. The theme of the issue is sustainability and the environment, with a spotlight on the geosynthetics, caravan/camping and tension structures industries, so if you have any suggestions for topics you’d like covered or a story you think would fit into any of those categories, please get in touch. You can contact the STA office on 03 9521 2114 or visit Or you can contact the editor directly at or on 03 9948 4917. We look forward to hearing from you.


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All unsolicited material should be addressed to the attention of the editor at the address above. Material will only be returned if a postage prepaid self-addressed envelope is supplied. Niche Media Pty Ltd accepts no liability for loss or damage of unsolicited material. Connections is a publication of Niche Media Pty Ltd, ABN 13 064 613 529, 142 Dorcas Street, South Melbourne Vic 3205 Australia, tel +613 9948 4900, fax +613 9948 4999. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, internet, or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the publishers. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information in this publication, the publishers accept no responsibility or liability for any errors, omissions or resultant consequences including any loss or damage arising from reliance on information in this publication. The opinions and material published in this publication are not necessarily endorsed by the editor, publisher or Niche Media Pty Ltd, unless where specifically stated.

31/03/2015 1:27 pm

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10/04/14 3:33 PM


Acting president’s report


ue to some unforeseen circumstances, our current president, David Burton, has had to vacate the position, which means as vice president I will be acting in the role from now until our AGM in late June, with Jamie Howard stepping into my role as vice president. Having had the good fortune to work with David on the council of management over the past couple of years, I’d just like to acknowledge his efforts towards furthering the interests of all members in his time on council. David not only worked hard in staying true to the strategic plan, but he also added his own style of leadership as president over the past eight months. He will be missed on the council and I’m sure I speak for all councillors on that. I wish David the best of luck in his future endeavours and hope to see him involved in our industry for many years to come. As we say goodbye to another summer season, which, by all accounts, was a reasonably busy one for many companies in our industry, we now set our sights on what will potentially be a very big 2015. There is a lot going on the world of specialised textiles, both in and out of the Association’s office. Many of our sub committees are now well into their briefs and objectives for the year ahead and our year-long member sessions plan is just about to swing into action. This will all lead into what will be a fabulous celebration of 75 years of the Association at SpecTex15, to be held from 27 to 29 June. I’m hoping to see you all in Melbourne for this special event. The year has started with some international events such as January’s MFA (Marine Fabricators Association) National Convention, where two of our members and talented marine trimmers in Neil Hancock and Dave Elliot received international awards. You can read more about this on page 40 of this issue. Well done on a fantastic effort, guys! Other events that have also taken place this year were the Geosynthetics 2015 Conference in Portland, Oregon in the US and R&T Stuttgart in Germany. Both of these events were held in February and both featured great representation from many of our own member companies. By all accounts R&T in particular proved to be a great source of information for many that had the chance to get over to Europe. The greatest asset we have as an association is by far and away our member companies and all of their wonderful staff. We strongly encourage you to take the opportunity to come along to one of our state member sessions over the coming months to network, learn and share your thoughts, and help us make our industry as strong and viable into the future as possible. The best way to support your industry is to ‘Be Involved’. Along with a very talented and driven council of management, I look forward to continuing the great work done over the years in dealing with all of the issues both small and large that have great bearing on all involved with our industry. I also look forward to meeting as many of you as possible in the future as I get to be heavily involved with an industry that I love. Glenn Barlow – Acting President


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27/03/2015 11:13 am

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16/02/15 3:45 PM


UPDATE FROM THE SPECIALISED TEXTILES ASSOCIATION OFFICE The beginning of 2015 has seen a flurry of activity in the STA’s office. Association manager, Ana Drougas, and marketing and events coordinator, Kiah Struck, explain.



The start of autumn has been an exciting time for us in the office with the launch of our new website on Thursday 12 March. It has been a big project that we have been working on over the last five months and we are so happy to finally share it with all of you. One of the main differences you as members will find with the new website is that there is no longer only one login per member business. All of your staff can now have their own logins, which we hope will make it easier for your team to access member-only resources and register for events when the business owner is away or unavailable. Another area we have improved upon is the member directory, which is now called ‘Find A Member’. Now you can search not only by the business name, but also by industry sector, product and location. This more thorough search function will make finding the business or product you’re after easier and quicker for consumers and industry alike. We greatly appreciate all the positive and constructive feedback we have received so far. As with all new websites, there are always plenty of creases that need to be ironed out in the first few weeks, so our work is certainly not all done. We are working harder than ever to continually improve the site, so we thank you for your patience during this time.



With the launch of our new website, we are also excited to announce Online Registrations for SpecTex15 are now open! The Early Bird Rate is available for Full Delegate registrations, so book before 30 April 2015 and save $90 per Full Delegate registration. The preliminary program is also available on the SpecTex15/ Attend page on our website, which outlines the events taking place throughout the conference and expo. To register for SpecTex15 visit

AWARDS FOR RECOGNITION Entries for the Awards for Excellence, Women of the Year and the Young Achiever Award are now open on our new website. There have been a few changes to the Awards since last year. One of them being that the Young Achiever Award is now a standalone award and no longer a category of the Awards for Excellence. As such, there will be a separate application form to enter this award. The criteria for the Young Achiever Award will concentrate on the individual’s contribution to the project, rather than the project itself. This now means that a project can be entered in a general Awards for Excellence category and as a separate entry in the Young Achiever Award. The Marine Trimming category within the Awards for Excellence has also been amended and has been split into two categories: Marine Trimming Interior and Marine Trimming External. The Women of the Year Award is also now open for nominations. This will be the second year the Women in Textiles Committee will recognise and acknowledge the achievements of women within the Australian textile industry. Entries for all of these awards close on Friday 17 April 2015 and the winners will be announced at the Awards for Excellence Dinner in Melbourne on Sunday 28 June 2015.

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Marine trimming in the Awards for Excellence is now split into Marine Trimming Interior and Marine Trimming External.

COMMITTEES/FOCUS GROUPS Women in Textiles Committee Connie Hellyar recently had the honour of attending a mentoring course organised by the Tradewomen’s Guild (TWG). The TWG is a community of men and women who offer support and guidance for any female who is seeking work, or already employed, in a non-traditional, male-dominated trade. Its mission is to encourage, support and inspire women to enter non-traditional employment. Connie is hoping that the Women in Textiles Committee could offer the same sort of mentoring opportunities within our industry, as we have so many amazing people who could participate in mentoring up and coming women, who are new to our industry. There is a wealth of knowledge among us and we’re sure there would be willing participants who would relish the opportunity to share their experiences and help guide and mentor the next generation.

Marine Fabricator Committee Our theme this year for marine fabricators is bringing technology to your business. Our workshops will focus heavily on the use of laser camera imaging and their transitioning abilities for the marine fabricator. Building our membership base and delivering quality services for our members is also a priority. Our committee is unchanged from last year and all members are vocal and proactive in trying to improve awareness and standards within our industry.

Fabric Structures Committee The topic of discussion at this month’s Fabric Structures Committee (FSC) meeting was shadecloth testing. Australian Standards has just completed a draft review of AS4174 and this will go to public comment very soon. As a committee, we are concerned that nothing has changed since AS4399. It seems crazy, but UV (ultraviolet) testing methods remain irrelevant to shadecloth sails. UV testing of shadecloth is currently based on close to the skin testing methods, aka ‘Rashies’. UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) is likely to be replaced by USF (ultraviolet shelter factor).

Both totally ignore what is happening to the person sitting two to four metres under a shadecloth sail. Shade sails are influenced by UV at distance, design, fabric stretch and strength, scattered light, pitch and so on for effectiveness and quality, but these factors will all be ignored. STA, as the industry body, and you, as users or suppliers of shadecloth, will have an opportunity to make your views known to Australian Standards. Stay tuned to the STA’s newsletters for more.

Training and Education Committee The STA Training Committee had its first meeting of 2015 in late January, with all of the committee very keen to get into some of the big issues surrounding training and development that ultimately affect our members and all in the industry. One of the pressing issues is that of apprenticeships versus traineeships in textile fabrication and also the importance of aligning our current formal training on a national level. Currently, various states view the exact same training package of textile fabrication in various forms, creating confusion for employers and employees on exactly where they stand in regards to the qualification. We are happy to say that, in late February, the STA Training Committee met with Manufacturing Skills Australia, NSW ITAB (New South Wales Industry Training Advisory Body) and the appropriate training boards from around the country to set the wheels in motion for a national apprenticeship to be adopted in textile fabrication (you can read more about this in Glenn Barlow’s Industry Training report on page 50). Although it’s early days and there is much more work to be done, we are confident that in the future we may all train under the same training package and duration.

Historical Committee A significant part of SpecTex15 will be the commemoration of our 75-year anniversary. STA’s Historical Committee has been working on collecting data and memorabilia from a variety of sources in order to display during SpecTex15. A timeline is being worked on the moment to capture significant events not only within the Association, but also within the industry. The challenge for this committee is limiting the history of an industry to only the last 75 years. With only three months to go, we cannot wait to see the final result. Register online to attend:

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NEW MEMBERS The STA is pleased to welcome the following individuals and companies to its membership.

exactly to your specifications. No matter what the size, colour or shape, Mahers can produce it for you. Contact: Darryl Maher Email: Phone: 02 6953 7911 Website:

Herculite fabric company provides a vast array of brands, products, marketing, design, manufacturing, consulting and technical expertise. Contact: Craig Zola Email: Phone: (717) 764 1192 Website:

T&K EVERY JOE MAURICI, TAFE SA TAFE SA is the largest provider of vocational education and training (VET) in South Australia, delivering more than 1000 courses to an average of 80,000 students per year at its campuses across the state. Contact: Joe Maurici Email: Phone: 0488 058 625 Website:

MAHERS TARPS Mahers Tarps provides a wide range of products at affordable prices. From quality tarps and canopies to blinds and upholstery, it puts the same kind of effort into ensuring that all of its products are long lasting and easy on the eye. Mahers also does custom work,

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T&K Every is a blinds and shutters company, with a team of highly skilled, trained and qualified specialist installers, based in Wellington Point, south-east of Brisbane. Contact: Tim Every Email: Phone: 0405 769 294 Website: N/A

HERCULITE PRODUCTS, INC (BASED IN PENNSYLVANIA, US) Herculite Inc has been an innovative fabric company specialising in high performance laminated and coated fabrics for more than 60 years. As one of the founders of the synthetic fabrics industry, Herculite pioneered the use of laminated fabrics in the healthcare industry. Today, the

TOUGH-AS PRODUCTS Tough-As Products is an Australian owned company that makes tough and innovative industrial welded PVC products, perfectly designed and made fit for purpose and to withstand our harsh Australian conditions. All ToughAs Products goods are Australian made and we supply to a range of industries including agriculture, transport, mining, manufacturing and motorsport. Some of these well-known products include the innovative HeaderTarpŽ and Tough-As Work Mats™ range. Contact: Terry Schultz Email: Phone: 0407 390 010 Website:

12/03/15 11:18 8:46 AM 27/03/2015 am


Elizabeth Machines and Austech Welders announcement


he management of Elizabeth Machines Co and Austech Welders and Sewing Machines would like to announce changes in the supply of the historical Sinclair Equipment Company’s ‘Triad’ and ‘Spec’ wedge welding machines. In late 2014, Miller Weldmaster Corporation acquired the Triad, Spec and portable hot air welding lines from the Sinclair Equipment Company. With this event, discussions began between Miller Weldmaster, Sinclair Equipment Co, Elizabeth Machines Co and Austech Welders to determine the best approach to service the many current and future Australian customers for these products. By common agreement of all parties, Elizabeth Machines Co is assuming sole Australian distributor responsibilities for the Triad and Spec lines under the Miller Weldmaster brand and machine range. In the near future, we are striving to deliver a more direct level of service to hundreds of customers with Elizabeth Machines having offices in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide. Greg Schmidt has begun the training of Elizabeth Machines staff on the Triad and Spec models, so we can begin taking on the sales, service and spare parts distribution from our state offices.

8:46 AM

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We are also pleased to share that Greg Schmidt, managing director of Austech Welders and trusted supplier to the industry for many years will continue to represent the product line and take on the role of Elizabeth Machines Co exclusive dealer for Western Australia for the Miller Weldmaster products. We’re excited that our Western Australian customers will have a more direct level of service for their machines and we look forward to Greg helping us enhance our customers’ experience in Western Australia with the Miller Weldmaster products.

Elizabeth Machines Co and Austech Welders are working hard to minimise any service disruption during the transition period and are looking forward to the opportunity of presenting an increased product range to our collective customers in the future. Rick Haggerty General manager Elizabeth Machines Co Greg Schmidt Managing director Austech Welders and Sewing Machines


27/03/2015 11:18 am


STA MEMBERS WIN AT THE IFAI INTERNATIONAL ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS To win any kind of an award in a competitive industry gives reason to cheer, but when Australian fabricators travel to the US and take on the might of that country’s talent and expertise, and come home winners, that is surely a formidable achievement.


ast October, the Industrial Fabrics Association International (IFAI) held its annual International Achievement Awards (IAA) for design excellence in speciality fabrics applications. The awards were held as part of the IFAI Specialty Fabrics Expo and the Advanced Textiles Expo, the largest speciality fabrics trade show in the US. This year’s venue was the Minneapolis Convention Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Hard Top Effect on Big Sail Boat Dodger, winner of Award of Excellence for David’s Custom Trimmers.

The IFAI announced that it had received a total of 235 entries from 12 countries, all vying for honours in 27 different categories in the 2014 competition. Out of those 235 entries, there was a significant contingent of members of the Australian Specialised Textiles Association. Even more impressively, a number of the members won awards, with David’s Custom Trimmers actually picking up three awards.

THE WINNERS FABRITECTURE Adelaide Oval 2014 Outstanding Achievement Award Tensile Structures, more than 2300 square metres SHADE TO ORDER PTY LTD University of Newcastle Auchmuty Library Courtyard 2014 Award of Excellence Exterior Shades And Screens E H BRETT & SONS PTY LTD Retractable Roof Awning System 2014 Award of Excellence Retractable Awnings and Canopies

53 Jenneau, winner of Outstanding Achievement for David’s Custom Trimmers.

DAVID’S CUSTOM TRIMMERS Sail Boat 2014 Award of Excellence Sailboat Exterior DAVID’S CUSTOM TRIMMERS 53 Jenneau 2014 Outstanding Achievement Award Sailboat Exterior DAVID’S CUSTOM TRIMMERS 1908: Big Boat Cover 2014 Outstanding Achievement Award Sailboat Exterior AUSSIE BOAT COVERS PTY LTD Custom Linens Package 2014 Award of Excellence Marine Interior Upholstery 15.1 contact


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27/03/2015 11:20 am

L to R: Greg Penman, Cameron Batho, Robert Bull, Ross Penman.



n February, 135 years after Edwin Henry Brett started his sail loft on Newcastle harbour, the business of E H Brett has announced that Robert Bull will join Ross and Greg Penman (the great-grandsons of the founder) and their families as shareholders in the company. Bull first joined E H Brett straight from school, as a trainee in textile in 2001. Shortly after completing this traineeship, however, he left to undertake building work, gaining building and carpentry trade qualifications in the process. In 2006, after helping out on a particular shade sail project, Bull rejoined the E H Brett team and quickly moved through the ranks to become production manager in charge of both site and factory operations. In 2007, Bull oversaw the move to new premises in Moorebank, New South Wales. Throughout this time, he proved himself prepared to tackle new challenges and problem solve. Bull’s skill and dedication to his work and the business have seen him complete

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some acclaimed projects, a number of which have been recognised with industry awards nationally. These include the STA (Specialised Textiles Association) Young Achiever award in 2012 and two subsequent STA awards for excellence. In 2014, one of Bull’s projects also took out an international award at the IFAI Expo Awards for Excellence. This particular project was a system of three retractable and fully automated roof blind systems, which Bull designed and retrofitted to an architecturally unique home in Balmain – interestingly, the Sydney harbour side suburb from where the E H Brett business operated for most of the 20th century. E H Brett managing director, Greg Penman, says, “2014 was unquestionably the most successful year in a generation for the company, which saw the business also receive an award for excellence in the NSW Business Chamber annual awards program.”

BULL’S SKILL AND DEDICATION TO HIS WORK AND THE BUSINESS HAVE SEEN HIM COMPLETE SOME EXCELLENT PROJECTS. Penman notes that while he and his brother, Ross, are the remaining family descendants of the founder, they are very aware that the future of the business is inextricably linked to the skills and enthusiasm of their young and vibrant team. Consequently, both Penmans are very pleased that Bull is joining the family as a shareholder in the business, and they all look forward to working together for its continued development. To mark this significant development, the business is launching a new logo, which acknowledges the sail making past of its founder and the year the business started in 1880, but which also has a keen eye to the future.


27/03/2015 11:20 am

16 NEWS Kyle Evans, 14, enjoys the protection of the new shade sails at Townsville’s Murray Skate Park.

SUN SAFE SKATERS A skate park in Townsville is now much more sun safe, thanks to the Sail Structures team and Ricky Richards.


he Murray Skate Park has seen an extensive upgrade, with the local council overseeing the installation of shade sails to almost three-quarters of the facility, as well as extra security lighting. Councillor Pat Ernst, chairman of the Sport, Parks and Recreation Committee, told local paper the Townsville Bulletin, “We’re expecting the skate park to be an extra big drawcard this summer as a result of this work. The shade sails and the additional security lighting will encourage greater use of the facility over a longer period of time.” The council had another motive for the project – protection of the facilities by encouraging park users to be more invested in their surroundings. “They’re great new additions,” Ernst told the paper. “We want the young people who use the park to take some pride and ownership of the facilities


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so that they’re there to be enjoyed over the long run.” Accordingly, the council is liaising with the city’s Youth Network about running some legal graffiti painting workshops, with a view to decorating the skate park. The entire project cost the council $72,500 and was undertaken as part of the council’s open space program, which was formed to provide shade sails and other improvements to various community amenities in Townsville. The total sail area covered 800 square metres. The shade structure used Monotec 370 – Lime Fizz and Graphite, supplied by Ricky Richards. It features cable edges and alloy-plated corners. The project was designed by Sail Structures’ manager, Michael Guinea, engineered by Trevor Wright from Wright Outcomes and fully installed by the Sail Structures team.

27/03/2015 3:58 pm

L to R: Dawn Crichlow (Gold Coast City Councillor), Greville Taylor, Amanda Mullins (Queensland Cancer Fund)

A long life of service

Arthur Evans 1917 – 2015

Sadly, Greville Taylor passed away peacefully on the Gold Coast on 19 February 2015 after a short illness. Greville will be fondly remembered by many STA members from the yearly conferences and his marketing trips throughout Australia for Rainbow Shade Products, not forgetting he was also the inventor of the famous Rainbow Shade multicolour shade jacket. Greville excelled in marketing, delivering great service together with excellent product knowledge; he always had a smile and a joke. Born in Australia before spending many years in the UK where he met his wife Anne, Greville was in the RAAF, Greville Taylor served as a policeman, in his famous owned a cab company and Rainbow jacket sold Rosenthal fine china before coming home to Australia and finding his way to Rainbow. Greville loved his work and, as a result, built long-lasting relationships that became friendships. He retired nine years ago, but remained part of the Rainbow family, often popping in for a cuppa, and he and Anne always attended the company’s Christmas party. Greville was the most contented man I have ever met, a great friend of 21 years. He will be sadly missed.

Arthur Brodie David Evans was born on 2 November 1917 and passed away quietly on 3 March this year. A member of the well-known Evans family, Arthur was the son of Ivor William Evans (1887–1960), who in turn was the son of Welsh tentmaker Evan Evans, founder of Melbourne’s Evan Evans Canvas. Notably, as a schoolboy, Ivor Williams was one of the five winners who in 1901 shared in a £200 prize to design the new Federal Australian flag. Arthur lived in Beaumaris and attended Brighton Grammar School, being made dux of the school at the age of 16. On leaving school he joined the family business in Elizabeth Street and became a qualified accountant. In World War II, he served in Papua New Guinea in the Signals. Postwar he returned to Evan Evans and worked in the business until it was sold to the Sunshine Group in the early 1970s. His wife Joan “sent him back to work” and in 1974 he bought Radins from Frank and Phyllis Radin, remaining there until the business was also bought out in the early 1990s, when he subsequently retired. Arthur Evans was a proud life member of the CGMA (later ACASPA and now the STA), and served as president in 1957/8 and again in 1974/5. He had two brothers, Russell and Guy, who both predeceased him. A very active and intelligent man, Arthur kept his health in both his mind and body, although the latter began to fail him in the last couple of years. His mind remained, as they say, ‘as sharp as a tack’. Arthur lived on his own until late in 2014 and only moved, reluctantly, into a nursing home in January this year. It was here he passed away peacefully at the beginning of March.

Dave Rowlands and the Rainbow Team

Tony Bon, managing director Radins

A remarkable man, a life well-lived

Greville Taylor 1934 – 2015

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27/03/2015 11:20 am


BREAKING OUT THE BANNERS FOR THE ANZAC LEGACY Ken Stone Motor Trimmers had a particularly poignant project on its hands recently, when it was asked to create some banners commemorating the ANZAC centenary for Albany in Western Australia.


he Albany City Council commissioned the banners for November 2014’s Anzac centenary commemorations and the first ones were put up in Stirling Terrace two weeks before the event. It was from Albany that the first convoy of World War I diggers set sail, and the ceremony marking the anniversary was attended by local and overseas dignitaries, including both Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and his New Zealand counterpart, John Key, who laid wreathes. The banners were the handiwork of Eyerite Signs and Ken Stone Motor Trimmers, working from artwork supplied by the Council. “We work with a sign writer, where all the banners are printed, then sent to us to make them up ready to hang,” says Gwenda Stone, of Ken Stone’s Motor Trimmers. Measuring three metres by 700 millimetres, the double-sided banners with their curved bottoms were a new type of banner for Albany. The more conventional rectangular banners measured 4.3 metres by 950 millimetres and were also double-sided. “The shaped banners with the curved bottom had to be printed mirror image to be joined and reinforced,” explains Stone.


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“There was a such a positive feedback to Eyerite Signs, which printed the banners, the Council originally only ordered banners for Stirling Terrace, where the troops marched, but the comments were so positive that they then ordered the banner for along the main street, York Street,” she adds. Then, even more of the curved flag banners were ordered for the Town Square and the Princess Royal Fortress Museum (known as the Old Forts) in Mount Adelaide, which is the site of the new National Anzac Centre. Eventually, so many banners were ordered that they were still being installed at the very last minute, as the Council kept on finding more places to put them. “Eyerite Signs printed the banners and they usually install their work, but there were so many banners to print and make that the Council installed them,” says Stone.


The Anzac banners were taken down the week following the ceremonies, but Everite Signs and Ken Stone Motor Trimmers has retained a presence on the streets of Albany, thanks to some additional ‘Amazing Albany’ banners that were ordered to camouflage an ugly old disused Commonwealth Bank building. “The window and doors were covered,” says Stone. “For the doors, the sign writer used stick-on posters, but the bigger windows needed banners fitted to size. Most of the banners had to be weldjoined. When the printer made an ink error, a new piece was printed to weld the join. Luckily, they didn’t show up too badly!” The two projects came together in another ‘Amazing Albany’ poster that is also still hanging. This one is of a young girl pictured at the Desert Mounted Corps Memorial, a monument originally erected at Port Said on the Suez Canal in Egypt in 1931, but which was desecrated and mostly destroyed by the Egyptians during the Suez crisis of 1956. Later, it was recast and moved to the top of Mount Clarence, overlooking Albany. It was unveiled by Sir Robert Menzies in October 1964, but still sports bullet holes in its base.

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20 TECHNOLOGY Mildura Soundshell.

DIGITAL MEASURING SYSTEMS AND PATTERNING Aeronaut Automation’s John Clark investigates current options for 3D and 2D patterning, looking at the Proliner, the LT-2D3D and the SiliconEye.


he Proliner and LT-2D3D devices are capable of measuring realworld objects and developing 3D models, which can be used in CAD software for rapid pattern development. Their main advantage over existing methods is that they’re both single operator devices that can be used in almost all weather conditions, while traditional methods of measuring normally require two people and, where measuring tapes are used, are difficult or impossible in windy conditions. Traditional methods also require much more paperwork and record keeping to be done on-site.

Experience has shown that digital patterns can be used for quoting without doing much more work and, if the customer proceeds to an order, a second site visit should not be required. So the main benefit is time saved. Additional advantages are many: a digital file that can be imported into CAD (computer-aided design) software along with a few digital pictures is more versatile than a sheet of plastic with some scribbled markings. An operator with a 3D digitiser is seen by customers as being more modern and likely to deliver a better quality product. Digital files can

be easily emailed or posted to a website, so measurements can be taken in one state or country and patterning begun somewhere else almost immediately. The Proliner is fairly well-known in Australia and many are being used by fabricators around the country for products such as pool covers, pool liners, shade structures, boat and armoured vehicle covers. The LT-2D3D is not new, but what is new about the current versions is that they have been fitted with an internal digital camera that revolutionises the process of taking measurements.

The LT-2D3D.


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The Proliner measuring system.

The Proliner and LT-2D3D both have pros and cons and which one best suits a particular job is often up to the user or the types of jobs being measured. Both can be carried in a small flight case and both are normally set up on a tripod for work. Both can be used to measure small and large objects. And with both, the initial hurdle to overcome is where to position the device to do the measuring. The Proliner requires the operator to be able to reach and touch all the points on the shape. This can be a significant problem with larger products such as outdoor structures. The LT-2D3D does not have this limitation, because the measuring is done with a laser dot. In the past, the laser has been really difficult to see outdoors, but the latest devices have the digital camera, which can be used both for rapidly aligning the laser dot in any light and also for capturing snapshots of what is being measured. Both devices are rugged enough for the real world, though the measuring wire of the Proliner has proved to be a little vulnerable to rough handling and, in the case of damage, the Proliner has to be

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returned to the Netherlands for repair. The heart of the LT-2D3D is a Leica device and can be repaired locally.

WHAT DO YOU NEED? Both devices require more training and concentration than a tape measure. They both use batteries and technologies such as wireless and Bluetooth, so the operator needs to make sure the batteries are charged and connections made! Both devices are obviously computer operated, which needs a little learning. In the case of the Proliner, a computer is built into the body of the device. The LT-2D3D uses a Windows Surface tablet for positioning the camera and measurements. What takes some time to learn is the process of measuring. Typically, the first job is slow and, as the operator gains familiarity, things get faster and faster. In a particularly big measuring job, one Aeronaut customer took three days to do their first full measure up, though to do the same job by hand would have taken a full week. To do a second job immediately afterwards (before they’d forgotten the technique!) took only one day.

SILICONEYE Aeronaut’s SiliconEye machine vision system is the odd one out here. It’s not a device as such, just a digital camera with some smart software that you can use on your cutting table, or even the floor, to digitise patterns and objects to give you something to import into CAD software or even cut straightaway. The workflow with the Proliner and LT-2D3D is as follows. The operator uses the device to capture points in 3D space, either 2D patterns or 3D shapes. These points are imported into CAD software and some small amount of cleaning up is done. What happens then is very much open to the user and the way the original measuring was done. If you aren’t comfortable with full 3D modelling, when using either device, you capture points along seam lines, exactly as you might when making a plastic template. This still results in a 3D shape, but one that does not require as much work to flatten and form the basis for a cutting template. Alternatively, if 3D modelling is your thing, you capture more or less the same points, which will later


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SiliconEye camera rig.

Melbourne demonstration workshop in February 2015.


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enable you to build a 3D model in CAD software. In fact, this may take only a few seconds. Some CAD users prefer to capture the basic structure rather than the fabric surface shape. Once the structure is modelled, then they offset this where required by the tube radius and then form a surface over this. In any case, once you have a finished shape in CAD software, it needs to be flattened or unfolded into flat patterns. If you have gone down the full 3D model route, you’ll need to split the shape where seam lines are to be done. Once the flattening is done, seam offsets can be added and any details such as webbing strap or eyelet locations added. The result is a set of detailed flat patterns that can be exported to a cutter. You may say, “Why would you bother with all this when a plastic template will do?” The answer is something to do with retirement and holidays! A computerbased pattern can be edited and reused time and time again. It normally does not rely on a key man and the ‘intellectual property’ if you like is an asset of the company far more than a pile of paper or plastic templates. This is one reason why sail makers and the like have been using computers for design since 1984, rather

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LT-2D3D – RHINO – TANGENT PROCESS • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Measure Points using LT-2D3D. Export as DXF and import to Rhino + MPanel. Click the select tab > select points > delete (all points). Close the gaps between all line segments by using new line or by editing the endpoints of lines, being careful not to distort your design. Create polylines from line segments for each side using the join operation. You must have three or more sides to create a panel. Check the Delete Old Objects box to ensure there are no hidden duplicate panels. In the MPanel dialogue, click Add Mesh and select the four sides – the panel mesh will be created. Click the Simple panelling tab > select your mesh > click the panel mesh button. This will create the unfolded panel, ready to be modified. Click the Panel Handling > choose Seam Widths > select your panel > click Seam Panels. Click the Layers pane and delete the measured_points layer. With your panel and the seams selected, type Ungroup then hit Enter. Select the polylines for each toolpath. In the MPanel dialogue > click the Utility tab > click join lines for each tool path Select all paths per panel and type Group then Enter. Save/export as a DXF file to Tangent

than relying on lines drawn on a piece of Mylar or on the floor. Where the SiliconEye comes in is if you do have a pile of templates or you feel best working in the traditional way. And many fabricators have rooms full of existing templates in paper, plastic or timber, and a factory fire would shut them down. With the SiliconEye, you spread the pattern on the bench and take a picture. The SiliconEye automatically

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traces the shape and gives you the same 2D flat pattern that you developed using the 3D devices. In all cases, you end up with a CAD drawing on file, which can be recut whenever required, without any more work.

CAD SOFTWARE If you cannot accurately split and flatten patterns and add seam allowances and details, then all the hardware in the world won’t do you any good. So the

key element in the software equation is flattening. In most cases, something like MPanel or ExactFlat is the best solution. MPanel running in Rhino is probably the most widely used and best price solution out there. There’s excellent training and support available in Australia. Other software such as TouchCAD and SolidWorks can also be used.

WHICH DEVICE IS BEST? There’s no straight answer to that. Each device offers things that the others don’t have. The Proliner and LT-2D3D are portable, while SiliconEye is bolted down above a table. You cannot use a Proliner or SiliconEye to measure a large site for a shade structure, but the LT-2D3D works very well at this. The Proliner is great at measuring things you can touch. Both the measuring devices will measure an existing template, but neither are as quick as SiliconEye if you already have a pattern to work with. C John Clark is the managing director of Aeronaut Automation, which has been making cutters for over 20 years, after beginning life as a sail making company back in 1987. Based in Terrey Hills, New South Wales, Aeronaut now offers the full range of fabric cutting technologies including laser, rotary blade, drag blade, crush cut, oscillating blade and ultrasonic cutting tools.

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24 DESIGN Ute with SAV wrap applied.

A SAVVY WAY OF DOING BUSINESS The Carr Group has traditionally been a supplier of eyelets, setting machines, coated fabrics and materials for stationery. Over the last three years, however, the company has started branching out from its original range of core products and industries. Tim Newman from the Carr Group explains the company’s adventures in SAV and the wide format print industry…


he Carr Group regularly deals with factories producing PVC (polyvinyl chloride) coated over polyester scrim (banner media, tarpaulins, curtain sider material etc). The natural progression for the company was PVC flex media, followed by SAV (self adhesive vinyl) and polyester fabric. The vast knowledge our team has throughout the company has helped with the technical and production side of the wide format print products; however, it has been an interesting learning curve understanding the different ink and printer types, not to mention endless and ongoing product testing. We often have team members visiting suppliers around the world; what we learn in the factory visits is invaluable especially when it comes to being able to produce products that meet the tough market demands in Australia and New Zealand. In simple terms, the production of SAV begins with a paper backing liner, which is coated with a thin layer of adhesive. The PVC film is then


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sandwiched to the adhesive and backing liner using large rollers. SAV is a product with a wide variety of uses and a huge number of variables. The three key components to consider that affect production, cost and end use are the film, the adhesive and the release liner. There are two main production methods to produce the raw film, calendaring and casting. In calendaring, the raw PVC formulation is extruded and run through a series of rollers progressively, until a consistent sheet or film has been produced. This is faster and cheaper to produce; however, due to the stretching of the PVC film in calendar production this film often wants to return to its original flat state when stretched or warped. This film is best used on flat or mild curved surfaces. Casting means spreading the raw PVC formulation on a sheet of casting paper (similar to baking paper) and run through an oven to set a stable and even sheet. This process is slower and more

expensive; however, cast film has a more neutral form memory and is, therefore, more likely to accept a new memory if stretched or warped. This film can be better suited to complex curves often seen in vehicle wraps. Other variables to consider in the film are gauge, quality of raw materials and the production process. Another element to bear in mind is the importance of the liner selection. Liners range from thin, cheap and simple Kraft paper liners, through to heavier PE (polyethylene) coated silicon paper liners. Higher quality coated liners can be more stable (especially under the high cure temperatures of printers) and easier to remove. They can also prevent moisture from being absorbed. This can be an issue in humid environments, often reducing the shelf life of the product or leaving it unusable. Lastly, it is important to choose the correct adhesive for each particular application. The variables in adhesive are the colour (generally clear or grey),

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the adhesive tack/strength and whether the adhesive is smooth or if it has air channels to help installers with a bubble free install. As a wholesale supplier of media, it is not so much an individual production project, as supplying a product for an ongoing project. With all of the different variables and endless products available on the market, it can be extremely difficult to choose the right film. A standout SAV project for me personally was when a customer approached us having difficulty sourcing the right product for large sized real estate signs. The application was short-term and there was a need for removability as the metal skinned signboards are reused. The issue was sourcing a wide SAV at a fair price, while still maintaining the quality. We worked

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with a number of suppliers and tested many products before we were happy with the product that not only did the job well, but did so at a competitive price. Some key applications for SAV include vehicle wraps, short-term transit advertising, long-term building signage, short-term advertising on Corflute, ACM (aluminium composite material) and windows etc.

At Carr, our focus will continue to be on volume applications; however, there are certainly opportunities for these products to branch out into other areas. Some speciality products we have been working on are high tack adhesive products for low energy surfaces such as brick, concrete or ply wood. Another popular new area into which self-adhesive products are being introduced is wall coverings for customising and adding your own unique look to homes and offices. Carr’s self-adhesive wallpaper is actually made from woven polyester with a white printable surface; the adhesive is low tack and will not pull the paint off the wall on removal. The sky is the limit for design possibilities. For a test case, we printed a photo of Auckland’s harbour and skyline, and installed in our lunchroom (pictured bottom left). C


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THE TOP THREE CHARACTERISTICS OF A SUCCESSFUL WEBSITE By Heather Maloney, founder and managing director of Contact Point IT Services In a relatively short space of time, a company website has gone from being an interesting add-on to an integral part of any business’ marketing and communications strategy. But there is conflicting advice out there about what you really need to include. Heather Maloney cuts through the noise and says it all boils down to three main areas of concentration.


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e have recently been privileged to work closely with the Specialised Textiles Association (STA) in the redesign and rebuild of its website (which went live in mid March this year). The major goals of this project were to: a/ bring the website design up-to-date in order to better attract new members, particularly from a younger audience, and b/ improve ease of access to the vast amount of information and opportunities presented through a website that is for members and about members. There is a long list of things to take care of when approaching the design and build of your business website, covering design, function and content, but the top three characteristics described in this article will get you a long way towards website success. Before we get into the three characteristics, it is critical that you understand your website visitors. It’s important that you can define your desired visitors in detail. Describe who they are by answering questions like: ‘why would they come looking for you?’, ‘what are their pain points?’, ‘what makes up their normal day?’, ‘what are their likely demographics?’, ‘how do they want to be communicated with’ and ‘how will they become aware that they need you?’ There are likely to be several main groups of people who need your products and services. Describing these ‘personas’ will drive your implementation of the three characteristics described below.

member’, ‘accreditation for business’ and ‘awards for recognition’. These special links are repeated on all inner pages of the website. You need to carefully consider the navigation elements/menus of your website, again in response to the needs of your target personas. Grouping like elements together, based on needs of your personas, will help your visitors solve their problems or answer their questions in the fewest number of clicks.

FIVE IS AN IDEAL NUMBER OF TRANSITIONING ELEMENTS; AS LONG AS THEY ARE WELL-DESIGNED. thought/product/service in more detail is very handy for the visitor. Five is also an ideal number if you have five or fewer ‘personas’ with whom you are trying to communicate. If your organisation doesn’t have five key messages to communicate, then maybe one big statement and illustration of that point is all you need. The point is to make your message very clear to the new visitor to your website. Gone should be the days of a frenetically busy website to ‘prove’ you have a thriving organisation. Less is more. Your message will be communicated in a range of ways, from the size and positioning of your branding and other imagery, to the font style and use of colour, and, of course, through the actual text you use.

COMMUNICATION Ensure your website communicates quickly and effectively with your target audience. The use of a transitioning hero image combined with short, largetext statements, on the home page of the new STA website is an ideal way to communicate a collection of key messages to a first time visitor. Five is an ideal number of transitioning elements, as long as they are well-designed. Visitors are likely to have the patience to view that many, and the human brain likes odd numbers. Hyperlinking each hero image to an area of your website describing that

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NAVIGATION Ensure your website is easy to navigate and easy for your target audience to find answers to their questions. The visitor has arrived at your website, and they’ve received your main message/s, loudly and clearly. Now they want to start solving their pain or taking advantage of what you offer. Your home page should be used as a vehicle to drive your target persona/s quickly to the area/s of your website that will help them the most. This is often done through images, simple text and icons, such as those used on the new STA website for: ‘find a

GOOGLE FRIENDLY Ensure that your website is easy for Google to find and index on relevant terms. One of the most common ways that your target audience will look for your website is by searching via Google. Although not the only search engine, Google is by far the most popular one in Australia. For video content, people will search YouTube. There is a plethora of tactics you can employ to encourage Google to rank your website high in the search results for relevant words and phrases, including submitting an XML sitemap to Google that describes the navigation of your site. It is important to research the terms that your personas are likely to use in order to answer their questions or solve their problems, and then include those terms, in a natural way, within your website content. Just as humans give more importance to titles, headings and bold text, so does Google. Therefore, it follows that using your target terms within these areas of a related page of your website will be beneficial to your position in Google. C At Contact Point, our passion is helping businesses grow through the astute use of online solutions and mobile apps. If you would like to discuss any of the three characteristics above, or how your organisation can utilise your website or mobile app to grow, please feel free to get in touch with Heather Maloney on 03 8525 2082 or by sending an email to and mentioning this article.


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Last issue we brought you part one of our potted history of canvas in Australia, a series of articles marking the fact that this year the Specialised Textiles Association is celebrating its 75th anniversary. In the first part we reported on the industry’s beginnings. This time we’re spreading our history net a little wider and looking at the pioneers in New South Wales and Queensland…

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Bond Street, Newcastle circa 1906.

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30 FEATURE EH Brett’s Bond Street, Newcastle premises circa 1906.


o celebrate its dodranscentennial* the Specialised Textiles Association (STA) has convened a Historical Committee to trawl through the industry’s annals and almanacs and it has already unearthed a few gems. The canvas industry goes to the very heart and beginnings of European settlement in Australia. Consider this list discovered by Des Tebb of Tebbs Canvas Products. Included in the First Fleet passenger lists were the following items: “24 spinning whorls, 48 spinning brasses, 1 portable canvas house for Governor Phillip, 40 tents for women convicts, 6 bundles of stand poles, windsails, hammocks, 26 marquees for married officers, 8 dozen lbs of sewine, 200 canvas beds, 9 hackles for flax, 3 flax dresser brushes, 1 machine for dressing flax with ironwork and brushes, I loom for weaving canvas, and coarse thread, blue and white with needles”.


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EH Brett’s Balmain premises.

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Fast-forward nearly a hundred years and we find a number of companies established and flourishing in the canvas industry.

BOATING WITH BRETT’S One of Sydney’s oldest is E H Brett, an Australian owned and operated company for 135 years. It was founded by the 20-year-old Edwin Henry Brett, who had learned his trade while apprenticed to a sailmaker in the Channel Islands for seven years from the age of 10. Originating in a rowing boat, the company ferried sails between Newcastle and Brett’s base in Balmain, Sydney, where his daughter Beatrice Alice would help in the manufacture and repair side of the business. Brett’s younger brother Walter was also part of the company. Family legend describes the moment in the 1890s when the two brothers tossed a coin to see who would keep the business in Newcastle and who would move his part of it to the burgeoning port of Sydney. E H Brett would spend the next 96 years on the Balmain peninsula, having such an influence and impact on the community that both a street and a park were named Brett. As times changed and sailing ships gave way to steam, the company branched out into flag manufacture, tarpaulins, awnings and other canvas products. Currently managed by fourth generation great-grandsons of E H Brett, the company is today headquartered in Moorebank, south-west of Sydney, but also has premises in the inner Melbourne suburb of Kensington.

EH Brett and sons.

WAY OUT WEST One old Sydney firm that didn’t make it through to the 2000s was Harry West. Born in 1888 in Balmain, West grew up to be an apprentice at the aforementioned E H Brett, spending 21 years with the company before setting up a new company with Hilda Matthews, Brett’s former office manager. Her brother Albert followed them to the new company to complete his apprenticeship. From the mid 1920s through to the 30s the company provided sails for everything from dinghies to square riggers, shifting to war work from 1939 and returning to sails, and general canvas, wire and rope work after the war. Harry West continued as a family run company right up until 1983 when Harry’s son Douglas died and the company closed down.

GETTING THE GOODS A firm that has fared somewhat better and is still a well-known and vibrant force in the industry today is Goodearl and Bailey. Its roots go right back to 1886, when founder, George Herbert Goodearl, arrived in Sydney on the SS Garonne in June. To this day, mystery surrounds the curious fact that George was listed as a ‘gentleman’ and paid £36 and 15 shillings for the journey, while his brother Richard, was listed as a ‘labourer’ and travelled in steerage for just £18 and 18 shillings. Though it’s interesting that nearly 130 years later there is again some division – though these days it’s over who has the right to the Goodearl and Bailey name.

Richard Goodearl.

The original business, Goodearl Bros, assembled and distributed furniture manufactured by the family’s company based in England. But it soon diversified into bedding and, before the turn of the century, canvas products. The company’s fortunes faltered somewhat after World War II (the last of its founders having died in 1945), but with a restructure and closure of the bedding side of the business, as well as some judicious acquisitions and name change to Goodearl and Bailey in 1972 (to reflect Gordon Bailey’s formidable contribution to the company), the company thrived for another 40 years. Bailey and David Goodearl retired in 1995. More recently, the company split again, after Michael Duggan (the former canvas section manager of Chapmans, who had joined Goodearl when it acquired Chapmans in 1972) and the current Richard Goodearl (George’s great-grandson) went their separate ways. Duggan took over the goods sales part of the company, which continues to operate as Goodearl and Bailey to this day and supplies indoor and outdoor textile fabrics. Richard Goodearl continued running Goodearl Fabric Systems with his brotherin-law Lorenzo Lucia until its recent sale to Southwest Awnings, which bought the assets but not the name.

THE WONDERS OF WALDER Another notable name in the New South Wales industry is that of Samuel Robert Walder, a man who in 1892 entered the industry as an apprentice at the age of 13 in his father’s sail, tent and tarpaulin manufacturing business. He went on to run S Walder Pty Ltd, taking over the

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32 FEATURE C Ede shop, 1926.


reins before he’d even turned 18, due to his father’s death. The company expanded and was floated in 1911. It gained much of its success supplying tents to the Australian Army in World War I. Walder retired in 1924, but went on to further personal triumphs, including becoming Lord Mayor of Sydney in 1932 and receiving a knighthood in 1933. Without him the company continued as a manufacturer of canvas goods and wet weather clothing, until the 1970s. A name change to Walders Goodtime Pty Ltd saw the company continue its manufacturing and distribution arm, while also running a hire and catering business for at least another 20 years. One of the most recent mentions of the company is sadly ignominious, however, with the NSW Parliament noting


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in May 2001 that seating construction firm Walders Goodtime had been fined $40,000 under a section of the OH&S Act 1983, following the 1997 collapse of a stand in Newtown, in which 14 people were injured.

NORTH OF THE BORDER There were also notable names in Queensland – two of the most prominent were J M Hamilton and George Pickers. Hamilton’s Canvas started life as a sailmaker in a disused fish and chip shop in Brisbane in 1905. The founder’s grandson Jack Hamilton once described how the tiny premises meant that any large cutting had to be done in the local botanic gardens on a Sunday morning. He also related how much of the casual work was done by itinerant seamen for two

and a half sovereigns a week. The seamen didn’t trust banks and so “would draw two sovereigns and leave the half with my grandfather to mind for them for a couple of months… they would then draw their half sovereigns and go on a bender until it ran out. Then they would come back and the cycle would start again”. J M Hamilton saw boom years after World War II but closed down in 1968, possibly due to the fact that it had never trained a single apprentice, so when Jack Hamilton’s father retired at 73, there was no one to take over the company and it was sold to Premier Blinds. George Pickers, however, was a sail and tent maker who worked briefly for Hamilton’s before marrying a machinist, Edna Holmes. Around 1930 they started Geo Pickers and Co, which outgrew his former company, branching out into bedding and camp furniture, and owning several manufacturing plants in Brisbane The company’s success peaked during the Second World War and for some time after, but finally began to break up in the late 70s following the

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C Ede’s devasting fire of 1964.

C Ede staff photo (undated).

Whitlam Government’s reduction of tariff protections across all sections of Australian industry. Pickers’ initial training came courtesy of another notable name in the Queensland specialised textiles industry – Clarence Ede (known as ‘Charlie’ or ‘Bert’) of Townsvillebased C Ede Pty Ltd. The company mainly

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dealt in upholstery and motor trimming, branching out in the 1920s to also cover marquees, tents, flags and tarpaulins. A catastrophic fire destroyed the premises in 1964, but like the proverbial phoenix C Ede rose from the ashes, moved to new premises in McIlwraith Street, South Townsville and still operates there today, managed by third and fourth generation family members – Daryl, Russell and Bronwyn. Indeed, this year is the company’s proud centenary, so if you’re up north, pop in and share in the celebrations.

AND THAT’S NOT ALL… And we’re still just scratching the surface of the history of canvas production in Australia, having covered some of the notable businesses (but by no means all)

and still not had room to look at South Australia or the evolution into the use of synthetic materials. We’ll just have to cover that in part three of this series, in the next issue… C * Or dodracentennial. Or dequascentennial. Or semisesquicentennial. Or simply diamond jubilee, if you prefer. They’re all recognised terms meaning the 75th anniversary of something. ENDNOTE As before, we are indebted to the formidable research conducted by canvas industry veteran Graeme Gair (Gair Manufacturing, Davies Coop and Sunshine Australia), who retired from the industry in 1986 and whose collection of Draft Review Papers from 1999 formed the bulk of the reference material thus far.


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THE MAKING OF MERRY This year, the Specialised Textiles Association’s conference, SpecTex15, will be hosted by Warwick Merry – an accomplished “businessperson, exhibitor, performer, host and facilitator”. At least that’s what it says on his website…


ut let’s not just take his word for it… There are also plenty of testimonials from more than satisfied customers on the website. A couple of examples: “If you’re considering using him for your event – your search is over. If you haven’t considered him yet, you won’t even need to start searching. Warwick is a gem,” says Yvonne Adele, Victorian president, National Speakers Association Australia. “In my 10 years in the speaking business I haven’t meet anyone better than Warwick Merry. No matter what challenges occur, Warwick is the man you want in control. His professionalism, good humour and energy are simply outstanding,” says Paul McCarthy of the Entrepreneurs Alliance. So who is this prodigy of the podium? This wizard of words? This marvel of the meeting room? Well, to begin with he was originally a country boy. Merry grew up on the farm in the small south Gippsland town of Yarram, before heading off to Monash University to undertake degrees in computing and accounting. A corporate IT career followed, during which time he took part in numerous trade shows and even spent a year at a permanent trade show in Dallas, Texas. Along the way, the seeds were sown, and after a decade he set up his own company in the keynote speaking field. “The ‘aha’ moment was when my ex-wife came home from a conference and told me about the speaker,” says Merry. “I thought, ‘I have to do that’.”


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Those website testimonials make it abundantly clear that Merry is a man with unbounded energy. Indeed, you couldn’t do this sort of work without a massive level of personal dynamism. Where does he get his energy? “Loads of fresh water,” says Merry. “Singing and spending downtime with my gorgeous wife.” Unsurprisingly, there is a strong performing side to Merry. He’s had singing lessons and taken part in plenty of amateur theatre, as well as training in improvisation. “I go to Band Camp each January, where we learn lots of techniques and perform a concert every night,” he explains, adding, “I sing in a choir each Wednesday ( And he’s definitely a morning person. “I wake up like a puppy on steroids. I’m good to go first thing but, at about 10.30 at night, I fall asleep halfway through a sentence!” Merry was clearly born to do what he does. He is naturally gregarious and socially oriented. “I feed off the energy of others,” he says. “I love being the centre of attention, making people laugh and helping them get more out of life.” It also won’t surprise anyone who has visited his website or seen him in action to discover that there’s a bit of the stand-up comic in him too. “I have participated in the Triple J Raw Comedy at the Melbourne Comedy Festival a couple of times and got some really good laughs.” But it’s not all about entertainment. His best rewards are more practical than that. “I had one client get a 544 percent increase in

their qualified leads,” he says, when asked about the greatest rewards of his job. “This means an extra $150,000 on their bottom line. Another tripled their sales at a show.” And he knows he’s doing something right. The repeat bookings from his clients attest to that. “Usually I work with them for four to five years,” he says, adding that word is still spreading far and wide. “This year I’m slated to speak in Singapore and Washington DC and I’m currently negotiating a gig in Venice.” What does all this mean for SpecTex attendees? After all, Merry cheerfully admits the specialised textiles industry isn’t his area of expertise. “I have seen some funky tents, awnings, sails and marquees, but I didn’t know the details,” he says. He emphasises, however, that this isn’t really important. “I don’t need to know the textiles business. I just need to share with members how to engage better and get better results out of the show. I know trade shows, conferences and expos. That is where I can add massive value.” His expectations of the event revolve around communication. “Business is all about conversations,” he says, “and most people would rather deal with friends than strangers. So I’m looking forward to having a more detailed understanding of the industry and assisting its members increase their business success both at the show and after it.” So, conversely, what does he hope attendees will take away from June’s event? “Lists of qualified leads to follow up, booked sales and increased skill sets on exhibiting,” says Merry, all business at the last.

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THE STA’S MANAGER ANA DROUGAS ON WARWICK MERRY… How did you hear about him? I met Warwick by chance about three years ago. We sat next to each other on a flight to the Gold Coast. We just started talking… Have you seen him in action? Only once, just after we met. I visited the Gold Coast Convention Centre and he was ‘working the floor’. What made you pick him as MC? His general attitude, experience and understanding of trade shows. Warwick is more than an MC. As his tag phrase suggests – he is ‘The Get More Guy’. Our exhibitors will have access to Warwick during (and prior) to the expo for assistance and advice. Warwick will connect our exhibitors with attendees.

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SO YOU’RE COMING TO THE EXPO Whether you are an exhibitor or a delegate, it is not enough to just ‘turn up’ to the expo. You need to prepare for it to get the most value out of it. SpecTex15 MC Warwick Merry offers a few tips on how to get the most out of your conference and trade show experience.



It seems obvious, but many people forget to smile. Smiling opens up the connection between you and the person you want to speak to, regardless of whether it is a delegate or an exhibitor. Now the smile is not a fake, cheesy ‘looking like you are a little insane’ smile, but a relaxed, pleasant smile on your face. It will make you appear more amiable, approachable and more likely to get the outcome you are after.



The conference is a great time to chat with clients, prospects, partners and other industry players. Why not let them know you are going to be at the conference and invite them along? It may be to the trade show or even some of the sessions. Even if they say no, you are letting them know you are committed to learning more and connecting with the industry to better serve them.



You will be spending a lot of time, effort and money to be at the show, even more so if you are an exhibitor. So you


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must know the answer to the question, ‘Why am I here?’ The answer may be simple. It may be to make five sales, get 50 contacts, meet a specific person or find out the latest products and offerings available. Knowing why you are going will have an impact on the actions you take when you are there. For example, if you are going there to meet a certain person, you will be making some phone calls beforehand finding out where that person will be, or using your contacts to get the introduction. Now, while ‘having a few drinks and catching up with your friends’ is a fun thing to do, it is more likely to be an enjoyable element of the conference than your main reason to be there. Be strategic and ensure you know why you are going.



Get to know the show a little by spending a few minutes studying the layout. This means if you are talking to someone and they are wondering where something is, you can be a good host and show them or quickly whip out your map to find it. Ask them what they want


from the show and help them to try and achieve it. This reflects incredibly well on you and your organisation and keeps you top of mind when they are discussing your products and services.



While you will be focused on a business outcome and there will be a lot of business talk, it is OK to have fun. In fact, it is a very good thing to have fun. People do business with people and having a bit of fun will create a stronger relationship. So make sure you enjoy yourself. C Warwick Merry is a master MC, inspirational speaker and exhibiting expert. He will be hosting the trade show floor at the SpecTex15 conference. See our profile on the previous page or find out more about him at

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Abacus is a multi award-winning company with 30 years’ experience in designing, manufacturing and installing quality shade products. Quoting for and servicing the entire Sydney metropolitan area, it provides a complete service, from advice to concept drawings, engineering, full workshop drawings, steel fabrication, automated cutting, welding, fabric manufacture, excavation machinery and installation. The resulting products include shade sails, waterproof membranes, tarpaulins and privacy screens, as well as fabric, shade, barrel vault, cantilevered and claw structures. 14 Pullman Place, Emu Plains NSW 2750 Tel: +61 2 9831 1218 Email:

One of the most exciting initiatives established by the STA at the end of 2014 was its new Business Accreditation scheme.


t is critical that the products and services the specialised textiles industry makes and provides to its customers meet required standards of quality, safety and reliability. The Specialised Textiles Association plays a vital role in helping to define and promote the standards required by both individuals and businesses to operate in the industry. Accordingly, it is now offering a Business Accreditation to its members, to ensure they meet defined industry standards, encourage improvement, innovation and best practice, and discourage unqualified or unscrupulous practitioners from operating in the industry and giving it a bad name. Crucially, accreditation will also give customers confidence in the products and services they buy from accredited members. Only STA members can apply for STA Business Accreditation and anyone outside the STA who wishes to attain STA’s


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Business Accreditation must apply to become an STA member first. The journey to the formation of the Business Accreditation program has been a long and obstacle ridden one. The STA has taken a solid two years of researching and developing the program to ensure it is as rigorous and professional a scheme as possible. Association manager Ana Drougas says simply, “Good things take time.” But now the Association is confident that its latest initiative is a very good thing indeed. It is also pleased and proud to name the inaugural group of companies that have been awarded Business Accreditation. To explore the benefits of being a member of the Specialised Textiles Assocation and eligibility to apply for Business Accreditation, contact the STA office via email on or phone 03 9521 2114.

ABGAL LINERS AND COVERS Founded by Alan and Bev Long, Abgal has been a family-owned and operated business for nearly 40 years. Today, it remains managed by the Long family and manufactures quality, flexible plastic covers and containers, including solar blankets, tank liners and covers, shade sails and sporting covers. Its pool liners are particularly renowned and have been used in both above ground and in-ground swimming pools in Australia and Europe since 1976. And where did that name come from? Simple: it comprises the first initial of the original family members – Alan, Bev, Garry and Amanda, with an L for Long. It’s a bit like Abba, really… though the family’s singing skills are not a matter of public record. 56 Magnesium Drive, Crestmead Qld 4132 Tel: +61 7 3803 9000 Email:

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Another family-owned company, DDT has been operating in Toowoomba since 1983. It manufactures canvas, vinyl, PVC and shadecloth products at its generouslysized purpose-built factory space, and supplies to a wide range of industries, including construction, mining and agriculture. DDT pays particular attention to the quality of its materials and is proud to source 95 percent of its material from local Australian manufacturers. It’s equally proud of principal Max Brady, who was honoured with lifetime membership of the STA in 2012. 33 Industrial Avenue, Toowoomba Qld 4350 Tel: +61 7 4634 2166 Email:

Nans Tarps is a family owned and operated fabricator of all kinds of industrial and specialised textiles and associated products. It specialises in products relating to commercial and industrial textiles. With over 35 years in the industry, Nans Tarps has developed into a thriving corporation expanding into a two-factory operation with its head office/factory based in Lidcombe. Nans prides itself on providing quality products and manufacturing innovative and superior work of all kinds. It deals equally with corporate and domestic customers all receiving its extensive knowledge and experience in this ever changing industry. Vaughan Street, Lidcombe NSW 2141 Tel: +61 2 9649 2334 Email:

Due to celebrate its 70th anniversary in 2016, Tebbs has been operating in the Victorian city of Dandenong throughout its long history. Manufacturer of awning walls and annexes to order in numerous options, Tebbs also supplies walls offthe-shelf and is the Victorian distributor for the Aircommand range of caravan air-conditioners and the Dometic Group’s range of caravan accessories. Tebbs’ products are available through distributors and select caravan yards across Victoria, with representatives in New South Wales, Tasmania, South Australia and Queensland. Managing director Des Tebb was made an STA life member in 2001. 33 Brooklyn Avenue, Dandenong Vic 3175 Tel: +61 3 9793 2044 Email:




Based in Ballarat Victoria, C E Bartlett continues to lead the way in the custom design and fabrication of products made using industrial textiles. Established in 1956 by Cliff Bartlett, the business remains family owned, operating from four purpose-built facilities comprising 8000 square metres of production space. The continual growth of the Bartlett business is based on a total commitment to service and quality, along with an ongoing reinvestment in new technologies. 172 Ring Road, Ballarat Vic 3355 Tel: +61 3 5339 3103 Email:

Established in 1983 by the familiar team of Ron, Norman and Eric Gottlieb, Ricky Richards remains a family run business, which has grown over time to become the country’s number one supplier of print media, and industrial and commercial textiles. After originally being located in the heart of Sydney, the company has spent the last quarter of a century in Homebush. Supplying everything from substrates for print vinyl banners to blind and awning fabrics or tarpaulins and covers, Ricky Richards promises the very highest levels of expertise and customer service, with an extensive inventory to back them up. 16 Park Road, Homebush NSW 2140 Tel: +61 2 9735 3333 Email:

Vector is a boutique company that identified a gap in the marketplace between companies offering inexpensive ‘unengineered’ shortlived shade structures and larger companies with high overheads and commensurate high prices. It now offers highly specialised services and products in one-off designs of shade sails, commercial shade structures and solar solutions. It boasts unparalleled customer service and high quality products at reduced rates. One of its most innovative initiatives is the development of solar structures, in which solar panels are used as fully waterproof roofs on car parks and other structures, instead of traditional roofing methods. Unit 7, 91 West Burleigh Road, Burleigh Heads Qld 4220 Tel: 0450 977 622 Email:

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27/03/2015 11:37 am


AUSSIE BOAT TRIMMERS’ OAKLAND SUCCESS This year’s MFA National Convention was held in California and, once again, Australian industry members showed how the strength of the local industry measures up in an international setting.


arlier this year, a notable contingent of industry and Specialised Textiles Association members made the trip to Oakland, California to attend the Marine Fabricators Association (MFA) National Convention. The convention, held at the Oakland Marriott City Center, was a three-day affair, held from 16 to 18 January.

This year, before the convention proper, there was an education day, included in all the full registration packages, during which attendees could participate in the Action Coach Seminars, produced by the San Francisco-based business coach and adviser Crystal Shanks. The convention included two offsite trips – one to the Sewing Machine Workshop, which was hosted by the

Apparel City Sewing Machine Company in Howard Street, San Francisco. Attendees were also able to participate in two morning seminars at another San Francisco-based company, North Beach Marine Canvas. Both of these excursions were so popular that they sold out. Every year the convention holds a themed reception – this year it was the Hippie era, with the patchouli oil drenched

David’s Custom Trimmers’ Trimaran Dodger and Bimini, winner of the Outstanding Achievement Award.


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atmosphere of Haight-Ashbury circa 1967 taking over proceedings. Event attendees jumped right into the swing of things with open-mic karaoke, personalised henna tattoos and appropriately groovy gear. Next year’s theme will be ‘pool side, summer bash beach party’, so a bevy of budding Frankie Avalons and Annette Funicellos will no doubt be working on their costumes (or lack of them) already. One of the highlights of the convention, however, was the announcement of the latest Master Fabric Craftsmen certifications, including two of Australia’s own marine fabricators. Congratulations to David Elliott of David’s Custom Trimmers in Wakerley, Queensland and Neil Hancock of Aussie Boat Covers in St Kilda, Victoria for gaining these prestigious certifications. According to the MFA’s announcement, this “signifies their superior knowledge of the principles and practices of marine exterior design, fabrication, installation,

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THE AUSSIES AT OAKLAND CERTAINLY APPRECIATED THE EXPERIENCE. HERE ARE SOME OF THEIR RESPONSES... “It was fantastic to see several Aussies present at the National MFA conference in San Francisco. Congratulations to Neil Hancock, David Elliot and Gary Swadling for their Outstanding Achievement awards. Congratulations also to those Australian entrants for the awards. I spoke to one of the judges post the event and they said the quality of the work in all entries was ‘superb’ and made their job very difficult. During several of the workshops and certainly from a presentation by Neil, David and Aaron Stroud-Smith (Canvas Barn), it is obvious Australia has some outstanding talent and the marine trimming industry in Australia is gaining international recognition.” Nigel Dawson, Nolan.UDA “Had a great time in Oakland with the American fabricators and suppliers. I have made great new friends, and was proud to help represent the Australian trimmers and Specialised Textiles Association.” Dave and Andrea Elliott, David’s Custom Trimmers “The 2015 Marine Fabricators Association National Conference was well worth attending. Our American counterparts welcomed us with open arms, happy to share ideas, teach and be taught our ways. I cannot recommend this event highly enough, having made lifelong friends. I will certainly attend another in the future.” Aaron Stroud-Smith, Canvas Barn


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material selection, basic features of a boat and project management skills”. Elliott and Hancock, along with Canvas Barn’s Aaron Stroud-Smith (based in Swan Reach, Victoria), also presented the Australian perspective on the industry to their US counterparts at three workshops during the conference. Adding to their achievements, both Elliott and Hancock were winners in the 2015 MFA Fabrication Excellence Awards, with Hancock taking home an Award of Excellence for the Beneteau Sense 50 Full Cockpit Enclosure and Elliott picking up an Outstanding Achievement Award for the Trimaran Dodger and Bimini. Both awards were in the Dodgers category. And they weren’t the only Australian winners. Garry Swadling and Travis Watkins, from Perth-based Prestige Marine Trimmers, also took home an Outstanding Achievement Award for the Barcrusher Cover in the Travel/Full Covers category. All the winners were announced on 17 January, with the MFA reporting that

it had received 92 entries all up in 11 different categories. “Winners were selected based on complexity, design, workmanship, uniqueness and function. Judges included Master Fabric Craftsman certified professionals chosen for their expertise,” according to the MFA’s website. “The award goal is to promote awareness

of the marine fabrics used in marine products and applications of various size and type.” Next year’s convention is due to be held in Clearwater Beach, Florida from 14 to 16 January 2016. You may want to start getting your bikini body ready now. But women, you can come as you are… C


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TAKING STOCK OF TARPS Tarpaulin manufacture and supply makes up a significant segment of the specialised textiles industry. Here Glenn Barlow of Nans Tarps discusses what the industry is like for tarps manufacturers currently, while Darryl Maher of Mahers Tarps and Tracey Harris of Kotzur Kanvas add some further thoughts.


arpaulin is a compound word originating from the words ‘tar’ and ‘palling’ and goes back as far as the 1600s, when tar-covered canvas palls were used to protect cargo on ships. And if you ever wondered about the etymology of the phrase Jack Tar, meaning sailor, this term evolved to describe sailors who would often treat their clothes in the same way as the palls in order to weather proof and protect them. ‘Tarpaulin’ soon gained a diminutive, ‘tarp’, though both forms are still widely used today.

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Tarps can be made out of a variety of materials, including polyethylene, canvas, vinyl and silnylon. They are usually measured in millimetres or sorted into general categories such as ‘regular duty’, ‘heavy duty’ or even ‘super heavy duty’. Many manufacturers will follow a colour coding system to denote the strength of the tarp, ranging from light blue for light tarps through to brown for super heavy duty, though not everyone adheres to this. The grommet strength will also come into play – simple versus reinforced, for example. Another measurement to take

note of is the weave count – the higher the count, the greater the tarp’s resistance to ripping in high wind conditions. Tarps are also rated for their flexibility – referring to their ability to stay pliable during colder weather. Finally, tarps are often categorised as washable or non-washable, waterproof and non-waterproof and mildew-proof or non-mildew-proof – though claims of some tarps being rot-proof may be more about sales talk than fact. That’s a potted history of tarpaulin, but what’s the state of play today?

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GB: Glenn Barlow, Nans Tarps ( DM: Darryl Maher, Mahers Tarps ( TH: Tracey Harris, Kotzur Kanvas ( How has OH&S/WHS (operational health and safety/work health and safety) or other government regulation changed the use of tarpaulins in different industries over the past 20 years? GB: OH&S, or WHS as it’s now known, has played a big part in the use of tarpaulins, in particular since the mid 80s, mainly in the transport industry, where the days of truckies jumping on top of a load and tarping it up became a safety issue due to weight and height. Larger trucks that used to require large amounts of tarps slowly gravitated towards side curtains as their form of weather protection, which many companies in our industry adapted to making as an alternative product – some even going on to specialise in the area. Fire retardancy was another regulation that took hold in many areas where tarpaulins were required. Insurance companies started to demand that fire retardant products be used in tarpaulins in industries such as building and transport, meaning that the type of products needed to be carefully considered before quoting on projects. Environmental regulations would have had to have been the greatest factor of change, turning the humble tarp into a environmental protection barrier.

DM: Since the rules came in that truck drivers can’t be higher than 1.5 metres up, tarp use has changed, with the advent of roll tops for the bulk carriers and taut liners for general use. Sometimes this is a good thing, but for some jobs it’s not so good.

Canvas versus PVC (polyvinyl chloride) versus poly – what is the most commonly used industrial textiles for tarps these days and why? GB: Canvas tarpaulins – although still a massive requirement for the military due to their camouflage colours and breathability – ruled the day until probably around the early 80s. Tough and durable canvases in a range of weights covered pretty much everything, with the quality of some of the

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heavier varieties meaning they gave many, many years of service after that. Even to this day, we occasionally see 30-year-old canvas tarps floating around and still in use. The early 80s saw the inception of poly and PVC-based products hit the market and totally change the way we thought about large-scale tarpaulins in particular. Poly plastic brought with it lightweight and low-cost solutions to tarpaulins of all shapes and sizes. It came with great durability that could satisfy most situations. Although not as inherently durable as some of the heavy canvas, the lighter weight of the poly allowed largescale but still practical tarps to be made.

(Environmental Protection Authority) regulations on waste management being so strict nowadays, covering of any form of open loads on trucks and trailers has led to huge demands of traditional style tarps – ranging from mesh all the way through to canvas and PVC. For similar reasons, soil contamination tarps are required for many worksites, with many of them being large applications. Away from the traditional style of tarp though, rollover tarps have become commonplace in the heavy vehicle industry. These are mainly fabricated out of mesh or PVC. Where it becomes a necessity, as opposed to a want, it normally means a huge boost for our industry.


The lighter weight, combined with the developing heat-welding methods at the time, also made the fabrication process a lot less labour-intensive. These days poly is used extensively for tarps, particularly in the large-scale area, camping/recreational and in the budget area of the market. Reinforced PVC also became prominent in the late 70s and early 80s, with some of the heavier varieties being adapted into heavy industrial tarpaulin applications, such as truck tarps, industrial tarps and builders’ roof tarps. PVC tarps, in particular 600 GSM and above, have grown to be far and away the most popular choice for long-term heavyduty tarping solutions.

DM: We use a lot of PVC for our line of work, but also a lot of canvas for our general work (canopies etc).

TH: PVC in our industry, probably due to cost, versatility and durability. What are the boom areas of business of sales for tarpaulins over the past 10 years? GB: Although many of the traditional tarping areas still exist, such as camping, recreational, industrial, transport and military, the real growth areas have been built mainly around environmental regulation changes. With EPA

DM: Roll tops and taut liners. TH: We have recorded no booms; our section of the industry seems to follow regular cycles. What are some of biggest economic, environmental and social changes that have had an impact on tarpaulins over the years? GB: Like any other industry that has a large labour-intensive aspect tied to the end product, labour costs would undoubtedly be the biggest imposition on the cost of the finished product. Obviously, added to the labour-intensive factor are environmental compliance and OH&S requirements, which have also added great costs onto what may have once been a simple tarp. The biggest social changes over the years affecting tarpaulins would be the environmental requirements. A simple tarp is very rarely a simple tarp these days, particularly if they are to be used in sensitive sites. The fabric type, makeup, thread type, sewing and welding capabilities and fire retardency have all become the norm in client requirements. We have been very fortunate in our industry that our suppliers have stayed ahead of the game in providing fabrics with fantastic environmental compliance.


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DM: The introduction of cheaper tarps from Asia, particularly China. Has automation and machinery development had a big effect on the manufacture of tarpaulins? GB: Since the 1970s, where pretty much every canvas tarpaulin was joined, reinforced and edged with a Singer K6 after being cut and marked on the floor or on a bench, automation and technology in machinery has made life for the tarp fabricator much more diverse and a lot easier on the body – although the traditional method is still used as well. Cutting methods have changed a lot with many even straight tarps being cut and marked with cutters/plotters that see much of the physical aspect minimised in


line with OH&S laws. The advancement in PVC and poly welding machinery has seen the art of joining a large tarp with a sewing machine (unless it’s canvas) become a thing of the past. Quite often these days, one large PVC tarp can have a combination of wedge- or air-welded join seams, high frequencywelded reinforcing patches and pockets, and be finished off with sewn-in perimeter edging. This versatility makes it a lot easier to delegate the workload throughout the factory, as multiple machines can be running at one time.

DM: Yes, we now use a floor welder instead of a sewing machine to make most of our tarps. Also the technology in the industry now is very good; for example, laser cutters and cutting tables.

TH: Yes, this has made manufacture faster, more efficient and more accurate. What effect have the large multinational companies such as Bunnings and Masters had on the value and perception of tarpaulins to the public and industry? GB: Tarpaulins, as in the cheaper, imported poly-style tarps, have become commonplace on the shelves in many of the large chain/multinational stores. This has both a positive and a negative effect on the industry, in my opinion. The negative would be that the public – and even the industry – are super price driven and get very used to looking at a ‘tarp’ as being set at these bargain basement prices. This makes it tough to both compete on any price comparison and/or educate the

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public on what is quality. Sadly, the quality aspect of these tarps is aimed at the very cheap end of the market and people find themselves having underwhelming results with their purchases, which can reflect badly on anyone involved with tarps. The positive aspect to the large chains selling the bargain basement style tarps is that it can quite often be an introduction into the tarp market and, although the quality may be lacking, people and companies quite often go looking for a huge quality upgrade for their second and third purchase. That’s where we come in, offering products of supreme quality with long life spans and superior strength.

DM: Sometimes it has created work for us; for example, when we have a windy storm, we will always get a few of the


multinational shade cloths or gazebos in to repair or recover.

TH: Such companies have captured the domestic retail market, but have had little to no impact on our area of custom made and durable. Any other opinions or points you’d like to add that you think may be relevant or of interest to our readers? GB: The tarpaulin has been and will always be a practical solution to so many different

situations, with the things people use tarpaulins for becoming more varied as time goes by. There’s not often a day goes by when you don’t see a tarpaulin being used for reasons that you may never have even imagined. We are lucky to be in such a quality driven industry, where fabricating a tarpaulin from the best fabrics in the world gives you great confidence in the prospects of that tarp not only getting the job done, but standing the test of time.

DM: Not really, it’s all good thus far… C

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Clockwise from left: shaving dried crusts; loading raw hides; splitting wet-blues; milling to soften the leather.

LEATHER TO URETHANE: THE EVOLUTION OF UPHOLSTERY COMFORT Nolan.UDA’s e-commerce marketing officer, Dominic Nolan investigates the history of leather in the world of specialised textiles and reveals how its use in the upholstery industry and, particularly, automotive seating, has changed over time.


eather has been a fundamental element in terms of the evolution and development of humanity. It was there at the inception of progress and continues to remain relevant within society in areas including the automotive and commercial upholstery markets. There are various levels of finishing applied to leather. ‘Aniline’ applies to leather that has been stabilised through the tanning process, but has no other surface treatment. The levels range from ‘pure aniline’ where the follicles are entirely uncovered, to ‘corrective grain’, where not only is the surface covered with a pigment dye and finish, but the natural grain has been removed by shaving and polishing the leather. Because of limited yield during the production process, and their very soft handle, ‘aniline’ and ‘semi-aniline’ leathers tend to be much more expensive than ‘pigmented’ leathers,


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WHEN IT COMES TO LEATHER, UNFORTUNATELY THERE IS A TRADE-OFF BETWEEN DURABILITY AND SOFTNESS. and are therefore perceived to be of better quality. Nonetheless, there can be significant marking on these hides, and colour variation between them. An unprotected leather surface has poor light fastness, and is susceptible to staining and abrasion. On the other hand, surface protectants applied to pigmented leathers during finishing improve durability, and disguise any marks and scars. Choice of the appropriate leather depends on the environment in which it is to be used and the degree of anticipated

maintenance. For example, ‘pure aniline’ should only be used in sheltered and shaded environments, where a high level of care is anticipated (e.g. executive boardrooms). Leather, or indeed any material used in automotive seating, is subject to high levels of abrasions and staining, as well as exposure to extreme temperatures and UV light. It therefore requires a thicker hide and more advanced level of finishing and surface treatment. When it comes to leather, unfortunately there is a tradeoff between durability and softness. The density of a finish dramatically reduces follicle breathability and, therefore, reduces the effectiveness of vapour transmission. In other words, a more hardwearing leather results in a stiffer hide that is less breathable and an element of comfort must be sacrificed to ensure the longevity of the application. Perforation is common within the industry as a means

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Gold leather car seats.

of artificially improving breathability; however, this also comes with downsides in terms of visual aesthetics. The introduction of polyurethane (PU) has provided the opportunity to bring the best of both worlds to upholstery applications. PU is a highly resilient and adaptable polymer that can be produced in a variety of compounds, including upholstery vinyl. The main quality associated with PU is that, unlike most faux leathers, only a thin coating is required when the upholstery uses a high-grade resin. The benefits associated with this design include: strong abrasion resistance, a higher level of vapour transmission and a cooler surface when exposed to high temperatures for extended periods of time. In terms of consumer benefits, PU provides a heavy-duty performance combined with a soft, almost ‘lambskin’ like touch. Comfort is also demonstrated through Moisture Vapour Transfer (MVT) as this is a key determinant to the breathability of an upholstery fabric. The indicative table

Table 1: Indicative measure of ‘comfort’ Moisture Vapour Transmission (mg/cm2/hour) Aniline leather 14 Upholstery leather 0.8 Car leather 1.0 Vinyl 0.0 PU fabric 2.7

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Charcoal leather car seats.

Diagram of cross section of leather– captions “Pure Aniline” Very little surface finishing. Entirely uncovered follicles.

“Semi-Aniline” Some surface finishing. Follicles partially covered. (For both aniline and semi-aniline an artificial emboss can sometimes be applied.)

“Full Grain” Pigmented Leather The surface is covered with pigment dye and protective finish, but the original surface retained.

“Full Grain” (Printed) Leather The surface is covered with pigment dye and protective finish, and artificial emboss applied.

“Corrected Grain” Leather The natural grain has been mostly removed by shaving or polishing. The surface is covered with a layer of pigment dye and protect finish, and subsequently printed or embossed.

below left shows that PU is three times more comfortable than other upholstery leather, yet still provides exceptional durability. PU offers more to the industry than just performance and aesthetics, however, as there are also significant environmental benefits associated with polyurethanebased applications. PU demonstrates decomposition properties similar to leather and is far more biodegradable compared to other PVC (polyvinyl chloride)-based vinyls. PU is also free of phthalate and heavy duty metal and meets stringent European

(REACH, or Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals) standards for chemical criteria. As in most industries, innovation and adaptation to changing market conditions are some of the keys to organisational progress and it can be argued that the transition from leather to urethane is a prime example of these business values. From clothes to car coverings, it is fascinating to look back at the primitive origins of leather and see how far the industry has progressed in terms of development and performance. C


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TRAINING NOW AND INTO THE FUTURE The whole industry benefits if we protect the formal training we already have in place and work hard to develop it for the future, writes Glenn Barlow, chairperson of the STA’s Training Committee.


lthough only meeting for the fourth time since its inception, the Training Committee of the Specialised Textiles Association (STA) is well underway, delving into some serious areas of interest and concern regarding current training and the sustainability of that into the future, specifically for the specialised textiles industry. With the bulk of textile fabrication and marine trimming formal training nationally (with the exception of Victoria) being delivered by New South Wales TAFE via the great team at the Ultimo campus, managed by head teacher, Lawrence de Paoli. It’s important that we as an industry do all we can to support them. Protecting the formal training that is already available is just the start. It is crucial that our industry has appropriate training and pathways in order to make our industry an attractive career option. In previous issues of Connections, we have reported on the review that is taking place for various training packages, one of which is the Textile Fabrication training package. The review is based on broadening the scope of the qualification to properly represent training requirements in the industry. It has been underway now for some time and STA members have been asked for their input along the way. The review period is coming to an end, as the package is

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PROTECTING THE FORMAL TRAINING THAT IS ALREADY AVAILABLE IS JUST THE START. IT IS CRUCIAL THAT OUR INDUSTRY HAS APPROPRIATE TRAINING AND PATHWAYS IN ORDER TO MAKE OUR INDUSTRY AN ATTRACTIVE CAREER OPTION. set to be finalised by June 2015. STA’s Training Committee has been working closely with Manufacturing Skills Australia in putting together quality changes and improvements into this qualification, while at the same time working to maintain its standing in the TAFE system. The other pressing matter for the Training Committee at present is the inconsistency between the states in recognising the Textile Fabrication training package in different ways. For example, depending on the state you are in, the qualification may be a traineeship or an apprenticeship – this causes a drama with time-frames and conflicting messages about exactly what the course should be. In late February, the Training Committee held a teleconference with all state training bureaus, when the suggestion was made to align all states

together in what would become a nationally recognised apprenticeship, with consistent course durations and aligned units of competency. The meeting was a success with an optimistic view that this would be achievable following the correct process. Further information will come to light on this topic as the year progresses, but at this stage it is very promising. The Training Committee was established for the benefit of all STA members and the broader industry, and would love feedback on training and development. If you feel you have something to contribute that the committee may be able to review, please contact the STA office (email, phone 03 9521 2114). Relevant and respectable training is an important part of any industry, with ours being no exception. The Committee’s goal is to not only review and protect the training we have, but to look at what training we will require in the future. We have been fortunate enough over many years to have formal training exist within our industry, but, for it to remain inviolable, we as an industry need to support it. Besides, the better educated your staff, the better your results! C Glenn Barlow – chairperson, Training Committee


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HR UPDATE – CHANGES TO ANNUAL LEAVE LOADING Think you know all the ins and outs of human resources (HR)? It seems every business owner knows the basics when it comes to HR, but it’s what they don’t know that could see them and their business come undone at the Fair Work Commission...


usinesses, both large and small, face the same risk of ending up at the Fair Work Commission if they are not up-to-date with managing their people. With some fines running into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, running a business requires leaders to have a greater awareness of the issues that may place the business at risk. There are some key changes that came fully into effect from 1 January 2015 that you need to know. These include the full implementation of the Modern Awards (all 122 of them), which also includes payment for Annual Leave Loading. As we included in our previous article towards the end of 2014 (which can be accessed at www/, below details further information regarding Annual Leave Loading.


and Occupations Award; Textile, Clothing and Footwear Award; Commercial Sales Award; and Clerks’ Private Sector Award 2010. Specifically, the changes that will most affect your business include the provision of Annual Leave Loading.

ANNUAL LEAVE LOADING THE CHANGES FOR 2015 Businesses that operate within the textiles industry will most likely be covered by a number of Modern Awards, including the Manufacturing and Associated Industries


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Annual leave loading – a loading of 17.5 percent payable at the time the employee takes annual leave is now fully effective. For those employers already paying above the Award, the Annual Leave

Loading can be absorbed into the hourly rate/annual salary, provided that this is communicated in writing. If your business is currently paying the Annual Leave Loading at the time the employee takes annual leave, you can continue to do so. If you have an Enterprise Agreement, the Enterprise Agreement may take precedence over the Award provisions. Please get advice on this before assuming that is the case.

COMPLIANCE – WHAT YOU NEED TO HAVE IN PLACE TO PROTECT YOUR BUSINESS There are a number of documents that you are required to maintain on file for each employee to be able to demonstrate compliance with the Fair Work Act 2009. These include: ● an employment contract/letter of offer, which outlines the terms and conditions of the start date, position, salary and any other benefits, reference to the appropriate Award

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The Specialised Textiles Associations is pleased to announce its partnership with HR Advice Online as its new HR service provider for it members. HR Advice Online will be supporting STA members with Award updates and pay information, as well as HR Advice direct to you as members. You are able to contact the service directly by emailing or calling the HR Hotline on 1300 720 004. HR Advice Online will also be providing updates to the Association when HR legislation changes. You will have the chance to meet owners Cheryl Disher and Kerrie Canning at the SpecTex expo and conference in June. The STA looks forward to working with Cheryl, Kerrie and their team. Further information about their business can be found at

and status (e.g. part-time, full-time, fixed-term, maternity leave), and ● a Fair Work Information Statement – evidence of having provided this to each employee either on commencement with their employment contract or when it came into effect in 2009. It’s important to also have current HR policies in place that cover: ● equal employment opportunity ● bullying, harassment and discrimination ● managing performance, including disciplinary process, and ● social media, internet and email usage.

THE MOST COMMON AREAS OF HR THAT ALL BUSINESSES CAN TRIP UP ON Access to Award/s It is a requirement to provide access to the latest version of the Modern Award that your employees are covered by in the workplace. Ideally this would be printed out and accessible in a common area – like a lunchroom. It can be online on a shared drive, intranet or portal – although the employee must be able to access it without any fear of being tracked. Hours of work It’s crucial that employment contracts/ letters of offer stipulate the employment status – e.g. full-time, part-time, fixedterm, maternity leave and the hours associated with the position. Standard


hours in Australia under the Fair Work Act are 38 hours per week. For part-time employees, the business also needs to state the hours and days worked in their employment contracts. Spread of hours relates to when the hours can be worked and vary by Award. Spread of hours can often include weekends, as well as Monday to Friday and specific hours of the day where penalty rates apply even if it’s within the 38 normal hours. As you can see from the above, there is no ‘normal’ response, as each business is different and the whole of business needs to be taken into account to determine how best to structure your workforce and the associated terms and conditions. C This article comes from the Blog Desk at HR Advice Online. For any further information, contact or visit

LET US HANDLE THE BIG JOBS BULK WELDING IS OUR SPECIALTY Why not stick to what you do best and leave the bulk sewing and welding (hot air, hot wedge, RF welding) to DDT. At our wholesale prices, you can improve your bottom line. Contact Max or Michael for a quotation


SIZE IS NO PROBLEM Darling Downs Tarpaulins are geared to cope with those very large jobs like green houses, shade houses, shade sails, dam liners and bulk storage covers.

Phone: 07 4634 2166 Fax: 07 4634 7725 Email: Web:

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ELIZABETH’S LONG REIGN Rick Haggerty started working at Elizabeth Machines when he was just a schoolboy. He’s now been with the company for over a quarter of a century and he’s seen how its philosophy of keeping a diverse product range and focusing on the customer has seen it survive and thrive.


here’s nothing like having an excellent role model when you take your first steps along your chosen career path. Rick Haggerty had such an inspiration when he first became associated with Elizabeth Machines (EM), at the tender age of 14. Family connections meant he worked for the company after school and was first exposed to the company’s founder, Max Skurrie. It was Skurrie who established EM 55 years ago and the way that he did so is a great lesson in listening to your customers and always fulfilling their needs, even if it means taking your business in unexpected directions. Haggerty elaborates. “It’s an interesting story,” he says. “Max opened


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a business in Elizabeth Street, Melbourne, selling reel-to-reel tape recorders. The previous tenant/business sold domestic sewing machines. Constantly, customers would arrive asking about sewing machines and Max explained they had closed. He then thought he may as well begin selling them also, as clients were seeking him out. This prompted Max to explore industrial sewing machines and the rest is history.” Haggerty started with the company full-time in 1991, assisting with assembly and pre-delivery of the sewing machines. “I have worked in almost all aspects of the company, from dispatch and assembly, to spare parts, sales and management,” he says. “Keep in mind that everyone in a small business could be

negotiating a high-end deal one minute and sweeping the floor or unloading a truck the next!” In his 26-year tenure with the company, Haggerty has naturally seen it evolve. “The main change for us since the early days has been the decimation of the clothing trade; hence our desire and requirement for diversity in our product offering. Past years have seen us expand to, and since move away from, offices in Fiji, and diversity of products with our partnerships with Miller Weldmaster and Gammill Quilting Systems in the US.” The biggest recent change, however, has been the amalgamation of Capron Carter Australia into the business. The wholly Australian owned Capron Carter

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celebrated its centenary in 2012. Cofounded by Henry Achilles Capron and Lorance Rogers Carter, the company began as primarily an import/export operation handling a wide range of products, including sewing and cutting machines. Carter managed the business until his death at the age of 89 in the mid-1960s. “The Capron Carter deal had been considered and discussed on a couple of occasions for over a decade,” says Haggerty, “but the timing of this approach felt right and there were many obvious benefits it delivered in terms of running costs and expanding our reach. “There has been a distinct move to invest in technology in the past year, which means operational challenges in the short-term, as we all come to terms with things,” he admits. “But we understand our success and longevity are based upon taking care of our customers

Left to right: Mark Skurrie, Wade James, Rick Haggerty.


and our people. Good products only get you so far; you need to be able to support the customer today and tomorrow, and take an interest in making them a more efficient and profitable business. Capron Carter and EM have a similar philosophy in that regard.” The merger means that in total EM now has 20 staff (including four “valuable” women, according to Haggerty) spread over four branches. “Melbourne is essentially head office,” he says. “We relocated to a brand new facility in Port Melbourne in October 2013, after being in Spencer Street, West Melbourne for about 30 years.” EM has also been in its Sturt Street, Adelaide premises for a quarter of a century, underlining the fact that while the company is always ready to diversify and adapt, it still has solidity and durability at its core.

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Company founder Max Skurrie.


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The other branches are in Homebush (Sydney) and Brisbane, which is the newest addition to the portfolio. Still a family company, EM’s current managing director is Max Skurrie’s son, Mark. “John Greig heads up the Sydney office and is involved with strategic implementations,” says Haggerty, adding, “but in any business, small ones especially, every person plays an important part.” A great local opportunity for EM was when Toyota Australia established its new car seat production operation in Melbourne. Haggerty praises “the fine detailed process the car industry adheres to” and Toyota’s “state-of-the-art facility”. Also significant has been the partnership with Miller Weldmaster, which sees EM oversee the “design, build and installations of any customised automatic Miller Weldmaster welding solution to meet a customer’s needs”. Said customers are mainly Australia-based, but EM also conducts some business internationally, with New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Fiji and other Pacific island nations involved.

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Indeed, one of the company’s more head scratching requests had an overseas component. “[We had] a deal for 150 sewing machines that, on arrival, had the container delivered to the customer’s factory, only to unload them and reload them into another waiting container bound for Vietnam… strange deal,” recalls Haggerty. But he’s seen stranger, he says. “We used to sell sewing machines to companies that produced some ‘interesting’ leather products… that opens your eyes to a different world!” And what of the future? How is EM placed? “We certainly don’t have immunity from tough times,” says Haggerty. “But our diversity of products and industries has helped us. If one particular segment is down, another may be OK. But there is no replacement for hard work. “I think the industries that the STA (Specialised Textiles Association) covers are set for an interesting period,” he continues. “A falling Australian dollar will see some segments become more competitive for offshore tenders, yet domestic trade will see price increases for materials, components and equipment at a time when many are already struggling to hold margins against inferior imported products… there is always going to be a challenge to get past, but we must try to continue to improve. Ensuring we retain skills and bring new people into the industry is critical.” And if he needs any more advice on how to do that, he can always ask Max Skurrie. Yes, in case you were wondering, EM’s founder remains very much part of the equation. “Max is a very young and fit 83 and still works in the business part-time,” says Haggerty. “During the Capron Carter merger, Max was back to full-time for a few months in 2013.” C

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Upcoming events for the Specialised Textiles Industry STA EVENTS


Carr Australia


Darling Downs


Elizabeth Machines


Eyelets Supply Company




Miami Stainless


Plastral Pty Ltd


Ricky Richards


MARINE FABRICATOR WORKSHOP – GOLD COAST 25 to 26 May 2015 Craft Coverings, Coomera, Queensland To register and for further information, visit

SUPEREXPO16 8 to 10 June 2016 Gold Coast, Queensland BMAA and STA joint expo. For further information, call 03 9521 2114 or email

SPECTEX15 27 to 29 June 2015 Melbourne, Victoria To register and for further information, visit

MARINE FABRICATOR WORKSHOP – SYDNEY 4 August 2015 Sydney, New South Wales For further information, call 03 9521 2114 or email

2015 MEMBER SESSIONS Perth – Tuesday 24 March Adelaide – Tuesday 28 April Sydney – Tuesday 26 May Brisbane – Tuesday 28 July Melbourne – Tuesday 25 August Perth – Tuesday 29 September Adelaide – Tuesday 27 October

INDUSTRY EVENTS ITMA2015 12 to 19 November 2015 Milan, Italy


2-3, 12, 42 + 43

The world’s leading textile and garment manufacturing technologies showcase since 1951.



Wilson Fabrics


IFAI EXPO 6 to 9 October 2015 Anaheim Convention Centre Anaheim, California US If IFAI Expo is your marketplace for speciality fabrics, advanced textiles, and shade and weather protection applications, Anaheim is your marketplace for family fun.


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Elizabeth Machines are the authorised Australian distributors for Miller Weldmaster equipment.




876 Lorimer Street, Port Melbourne, VIC 3207 PH: (03) 8671 0000 W: E:

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SUNB0020 Summer 14/15 Awning Connections Mag 210x297mmh V4 R FA indd 1 41547_2 Sunbrella FP.indd 2

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Connections Autumn 2015  

The Official Magazine of the Specialised Textiles Association

Connections Autumn 2015  

The Official Magazine of the Specialised Textiles Association