Saturday 8 March 2014

Camden Museum

Brunero Spinning Wheel c.1916 (Camden Museum)

Brunero Spinning Wheel

The Camden Red Cross workers used the Brunero spinning wheel to make wool yarn for knitting soldier’s socks in the First World War. While the Industrial Revolution replaced hand-spinning by the 1914 Camden women retained this traditional craft skill and put it to patriotic purposes.

The hand-spinners at the Camden Red Cross supplied hand-knitters with yarn to make woollen socks, which were then sent off to Red Cross headquarters in Sydney. Soldier’s woollen socks lasted about 2-3 weeks in the trenches of the Western Front and stopped the soldiers from getting trench foot. The Red Cross supplied patterns for knitters, and the Camden News occasionally published the patterns as well.

The spinning wheel has its origins in the Middle East in the 12th or 13th centuries and replaced hand spinning with a spindle. In European cultures it was replaced by mechanised spinning in the Industrial Revolution in the 18th century. Spinning is the subject of fables, fairy tales and stories going back to the Middle Ages. They also appear in music, legends and myths with symbolic political meanings.

The spinning wheel in its various forms has a domestic utilitarian status. Spinning is a tedious craft that takes time to master. 

The Camden spinning wheel was made by Domenico Brunero, a Camden inventor and manufacturer, sometime around 1916-1917. Brunero’s spinning wheels were of a unique design because of his invention with the skein-maker, wool-winder and spool-stands conveniently placed so that the wool was quickly ready for knitting. There are very few of Mr. Brunero’s cleverly designed spinning wheels still in operation.

The State Library of New South Wales has the records of Irene Read and her collection of knitting patterns for socks that were knitted for Australian soldiers. She said that the best socks were seamless and comfortable. Click here to view Irene Read's records @ SLNSW

Thanks to Julie Wrigley, Exhibition Curator, The Camden district Red Cross in war and peace.

Thursday 6 March 2014

Camden Military History

First World War Memorial at Macarthur Park Camden (Camden Remembers)

Camden district Military History

There are many aspects to military history of the Camden district that start in the colonial period and are part of current events. They can be categorised under a number of heading and they include:
(1) conflicts
(2) wartime homefront.
(3) military establishments
(4) memorials
(5) organisations
(6) cemeteries
(7) local identities


There have been local residents who have participated in a host of military conflicts since the 18th century. For details of some of these see Camden Remembers

The Homefront

There was lots of activity on the Camden homefront especially during the conflicts of the first half of the 20th century.

The most important homefront organisations in the history of the Camden district was the Red Cross. There were branches across the district as well as a number of auxiliary organisations including Voluntary Aid Detachments, and the Junior Red Cross. 

Military establishments

There were a host of military establishments across the district were part of the larger Australian military effort. 


Read more @ Camden district memorials


Camden War Cemetery (I Willis)
The Camden War Cemetery is located on the outskirts of Camden township adjacent to the Camden General Cemetery.

Read more on Camden War Cemetery

Further reading and helpful resources @

Camden Remembers
Camden RSL
Camden History
The Australian War Memorial
National Archives of Australia
Gallipoli and The Anzacs
Spirits of Gallipoli
Australians on the Western Front 1914-1918