24 July 2006

The Tumut Broom Factory

While the rest of the family is coming down with coughs and sniffs, I am away in Sydney, occasionally checking in on Bruggie Hospital. As promised, I will update you on some of the highlights or our Tumut trip.
A great benefit of homeschooling is the flexibility. We were able to take up the opportunity of having a "field trip" in the vicinity of my client. I work, they play.
Tumut has one of the last working straw broom factories in Australia. Visitors are able to wander in during business hours and the fellows making the brooms are all very helpful and willing to show you how the brooms are made. Here you can see Clare supervising the man cut off loose ends from the sewing stage. I think she has the management's "hands on hips" part covered pretty well.
When I returned to the hotel after work the children all told me what they had seen so I decided we would all visit the factory together on the Friday when I took some time off.
The brooms are made from a combination of imported and locally grown materials. This is mainly because the millet used for broom making uses a very manually intensive process, without enough demand for the local farmers to grow enough for all of the factory's needs. We were able to watch as the two men attached the millet to the handle with wire, using special machines, and then sew the head with varying numbers of stitches for strength and firmness, and then cut the ends for a smooth edge.
The brooms are very good quality, so we purchased a full size one, and a special small one so Clare and Rose can clean out their cubby house.

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