Welcome to our family-owned business in North East Tasmania!
Mobile: 61 (04) 0750 1137
Tin Dragon Cottages Alpaca Fibre
3 Cox's Lane, Branxholm
Tasmania 7261 Australia
Our Alpaca Farm
We purchased our 36 Acre property in 2001 to build a tourism accommodation business. After years of hard work -- and the birth of our son-- Tin Dragon Trail Cottages was finally opened in 2008. On our other web site, you can read about how Graham built six cottages and set up a micro-hydro and solar PV to fully power our property... Take a look at our cottages on the Ringarooma River in Branxholm! You may even like to stay with us - book direct online. We can fully cater for small groups, too --with a workshop space for your friends and colleagues to meet, or just to relax.
While we were building the cottages Graham and I started a small vegetable garden and purchased chooks. We also purchased a pair of alpacas - Camelia and her brother, Boxer. And...this is where our love affair with alpacas started. At times we have had up to 25 alpacas and currently we have 12. Camelia and Boxer are still with us, although they are very elderly now!
How we card the alpaca fibre
Of course, along with a love of our alpacas, I found another passion--spinning alpaca fibre and learning to knit and crochet. Tasmania has a strong tradition of spinning and weaving and there is a wealth of knowledge. Our local craft group in Ringarooma is no exception. We meet each week and I wouldn't miss it! There is always someone to inspire me and coach me with my projects. The afternoon teas and conversation is first-class too!
If you have ever prepared and carded your own fleece or fibre, then you would know that it is very much a labour of love. But however satisfying it may be, it is very tedious! So several years ago I started investigating the possibility of purchasing a mini-mill to card our alpaca fleeces.
With my limited budget I was able to purchase a small cottage-sized carding machine, opening machine (picker) and second-hand washing machine. It is so oo much better than hand-carding!
Low environmental impact
In our workshop we hand-wash, open and card the fleeces from our small alpaca herd. The end-product is a continuous sliver or roving, which is ready for hand-spinning or felting.
The fibre or wool is hand washed in rain-water with mild detergent only and is sun-dried. The very hot water needed for the wash is electrically heated using the power we generate on-site from micro-hydro and solar PV. The small volumes of wash-water are handled organically on our property.
Our alpacas are free ranging and do not wear coats. So they are free to roll in our red soil and to occasionally cool-off in our creek. So despite all our effort, there will still be traces of soil and vegetable matter in the final product you purchase from us.
We are proud to be licensed with the Australian Fibre Collective (Licensee No 0018).