Australian Antique Sewing Machine Museum - Threads

Get Threads magazine!

Subscribe Renew Give a Gift

Australian Antique Sewing Machine Museum

Wayne McKail and Judi Gillies
Machines wall display 
(Wayne and Judi are in there too!  Can you spot them?)
Singer Sewing Machine
The Nursery
The Bendigo machine
Charles Raymond No1, c1876
First pocket sewing machine
Singer collection
A view of the museum
Wayne McKail and Judi Gillies

Wayne McKail and Judi Gillies

Photo: weeklytimesnow.com.au

 

"From hobby to obsession to business." Wayne McKail and his fiancée, Judi Gillies, are sharing their love of antique sewing machines with others at their one-of-a-kind museum Down Under!

Recently we stumbled across an interesting story about a great little antique sewing machine museum in Australia. It was so intriguing that I decided to give them a call and was able to chat with Wayne.

He described that one day on her way out to work Judi mentioned that she’d love to have an antique sewing machine—by that evening he had bought her one. That started it all—3 years later they had 100 precious antique sewing machines, each with its own unique character. They decided to share their collection with others by opening a museum perfectly located in an old historic flour mill dating from 1881.

They've been open 7 months now and have welcomed 1700 visitors—including a few from the states. Their collection has grown to 250 machines dating back to 1860. Their museum is a fun and interactive place where they "insist" their guests touch and even run the machines.

Their collection is extensive and each one is cherished. Wayne likes to refer to each machine according to its serial and model numbers but Judi names each one. What might be "The 201k" to Wayne is lovingly know to Judi as "Gracey" or "Lyn."

A few really noteworthy machines included a Moldacot (the first hand sewing machine!), a Willcox and Gibbs (big with collectors), many beautiful Singer machines, and a Bendigo machine (the first 100% made Australian machine).

Besides running their fascinating museum they are also helping others. Recently a beautiful Bluebird sewing machine was donated to them and they pass it on to a family who lost their grandmother’s Bluebird machine in the bushfires last year. Next week Wayne is going to repair machines, free of charge, that were damaged in the recent floods.

Be sure to check out the original article and the Maryborough Flour Mill Gallery website. And if you’re ever Down Under be sure to give Wayne and Judi a visit!

annieoconnor

Comments (8)

BrigitteLaurence BrigitteLaurence writes: I just read the article. Lovely. Does the museum still exist?

Do you know of any other sewing museums around the world?

I am writing an article on sewing machine museums for a teenage girls magazine and, if anyone, has information to share, kindly drop me a note.

P.S. I recently began to sew and looooooooooooove it.
Posted: 5:46 pm on November 10th

AuntieQuiltie AuntieQuiltie writes: Fabulous story! Thank you for sharing, and all the very biggest, bestest wishes for a long and happy married life together also - you deserve each other!!! (Really!).
@Auntier - jump on a plane to Melbourne, catch the train to Castlemaine and then the bus to Maryborough - or give me a ring! Easy!!! Hugs, XXXX
Posted: 11:49 pm on February 9th

wondering04 wondering04 writes: I learned to sew on a treadle sewing machine. Wonder if there are any USA museums like the Australia one. Thanks for sharing about this.
Posted: 10:27 pm on February 7th

suzannity suzannity writes: I love the historical aspects of sewing as much as sewing itself. I perused the Maryborough Flour Mill Gallery website. Wow! Wayne and Judi have certainly done their homework! Fascinating historical evaluation of the Australian made machines. Thanks, Annie, for following up on the story that you stumbled across.

I see Wayne and Judi's post below. Just in case they read these comments again...Congratulations on your wedding! And thanks for sharing your obsession.
Posted: 4:07 pm on February 7th

LuvUhomeslice LuvUhomeslice writes: What a GREAT story! Love the pics.
Posted: 12:07 pm on February 7th

SourCream SourCream writes: Very awesome--almost as cool as the yo-yo museum in AZ! Thanks for sharing!
Posted: 12:03 pm on February 7th

auntier auntier writes: I love quirky little museums... now, how do I get to Australia?
Posted: 11:56 am on February 7th

mfmg mfmg writes: Thank you Threads - we are very happy! We marry in less than five weeks and then will be Ma & Pa Machine!
Cheers, Wayne & Judi
Posted: 2:15 pm on February 4th

You must be logged in to post comments. Log in.