White Gum Wool: Yarn From the Wool of Happy Sheep

Have you heard of White Gum Wool or WGW for short? 

White Gum Wool is a farm in the midlands of Tasmania where Australian Merino sheep are treated with the utmost love and care. They truly are happy sheep.

The White Gum Wool sheep produce the most beautiful sustainable, traceable superfine merino, that is then transformed into cloud-like-soft yarn and hand-dyed at Augustbird for your knitting adventures. White Gum Wool isn't like other wool. It's made with a little extra love and a whole lot of respect for our planet. 

Here at Augustbird, I'm passionate about yarn that feels good. Yarn that is made from the finest wool, with a focus on sustainability and ethical practices is so important. With this in mind, I am thrilled to share with you the story of White Gum Wool, a true leader in the world of Australian Merino.

What Is White Gum Wool

You may have heard the term “White Gum Wool” (or WGW for short) and become curious about who or what it is and I’m here to help. White Gum Wool is a sustainable, merino sheep farm situated in the heart of Tasmania. The beautiful wool grown at WGW isn't just any old, run of the mill wool, it's something really special.

This wool from the WGW farm is produced to create the softest most ethical yarn that knitters and crocheters have been enjoying for the past decade. 

The White Gum Wool story is one of responsible farming practices and a respect for the natural world. Every skein spun from the farm tells a story of nurturing, diversity, and ethical values that resonate deeply with me at Augustbird.

“The story behind White Gum Wool is one of
mamas and babies, of diversity and abundance,
and of ethics—for the land, the animals and the people involved in making this yarn.” 

-Nan Bray of White Gum Wool

At the heart of White Gum Wool lies a rich narrative of sustainability and stewardship. The sheep roam freely on the lush pastures of the farm, grazing on a diverse array of vegetation that sustains both their health and the land itself. It's like a picturesque scene from a countryside storybook—sheep happily munching away, contributing to the vibrant ecosystem around them.

The White Gum Wool Farm

Nestled amidst the stunning high midlands of Tasmania, the White Gum Wool farm is a 1000 acre sanctuary where sustainability meets serenity. The farm is its own self contained ecosystem, where sheep from a vast array of native plants and grasses that support their health and wellbeing.

Nan utilises a system called “Nutritional Wisdom” that is a balance of plant chemistry and animals ability to self medicate. Sheep are kept in family groups (which is most unusual in sheep farming)  which allows older sheep to pass on this Nutritional Wisdom to the young. This knowledge “is passed on from mothers to babies, in a process requiring 1-2 years. Keeping babies with their mothers, rather than weaning them and putting them in year-classes, is critical to maintaining the group knowledge of nutrition in the landscape.” Explains Nan

Maintaining an abundant and diverse landscape has other benefits too. The farm is also home to a menagerie of wildlife including birds, animals and bees. 

“The farm abounds with native wildlife—birds, bees, snakes, spiders, frogs, possums, wallabies, bandicoots—because the ecosystem is healthy. Aside from being useful indicators of the biodiversity status of the farm, the wild animals make my job of shepherding a joyful one.” - -- Nan Bray, White Gum Wool  

Who is Nan Bray?

Nan Bray, originally from America, is the heart and soul behind White Gum Wool. Her journey to Tasmania began with her career as a marine biologist, which brought her to the island where she fell in love with its breathtaking landscapes. It was here that Nan's passion for sustainability and ethical farming practices took root.  

Nan's commitment to the land and its inhabitants shines through in every fibre of White Gum Wool. Her background in marine biology instilled in her a deep reverence for nature, which she carries into her work as a wool farmer. This unique perspective informs every decision she makes, resulting in wool that's not only incredibly soft but also embodies a sense of purity and integrity.    

Is White Gum Wool Organic? 

White Gum Wool adheres to organic principles in its farming practices, although it does not carry an official organic certification. The sheep are raised on pastures free from synthetic fertilisers, pesticides, and other harmful chemicals. Additionally, sustainable farming techniques are employed to promote soil health and biodiversity. While the farm operates with organic values, Nan Bray prioritises transparency and integrity over formal certifications.    

“In keeping with my commitment to a conservation land ethic, I don’t use synthetic chemicals on my property: no herbicides, pesticides or fertilisers.  I’m not organically certified, but follow the principles of organic farming as closely as I can.” - Nan Bray White Gum Wool    

The NewMerino Certification: A Mark of Excellence  

White Gum Wool holds the prestigious NewMerino certification, a mark of excellence in the world of wool production. NewMerino goes beyond simply ensuring the absence of synthetic inputs. It encompasses a holistic approach to farming that prioritises animal welfare, environmental sustainability, and social responsibility.   The NewMerino certification guarantees that the wool produced by White Gum Wool adheres to the highest standards of ethical and sustainable practices including:  

  • Animal Welfare

  • Environmental Sustainability

  • Social responsibility

“My wool growing production system relies on three main commitments:  excellence in nutrition, a conservation land ethic, and thoughtful animal welfare.  These commitments are expressed through cherishing the biodiversity of the landscape, a conservative stocking rate and shepherding to link the two.” 
- Nan Bray, White Gum Wool    

White Gum Wool Yarn  

When it comes to White Gum Wool yarn, one word comes to mind: softness. Renowned for its unparalleled softness, White Gum Wool yarn is a delight to work with, enveloping your hands in a cloud of comfort with every stitch.   But what makes White Gum Wool yarn so incredibly soft? White Gum Wool sheep are Saxon Merinos, a breed that is well know for their soft, fine wool. These characteristics of the breed along with the treatment of the sheep, their nutrition and chemical-free farming practices all work together to make the wool all the more soft.   

In technical terms, wool is measured in microns and the lower the number the softer the wool. For something to be next-to-the-skin soft it must be 21 microns or less (the lower the microns the less itchy it is too). Most next-to-the-skin wool is between 19 - 21 microns however White Gum Wool is 17 microns.   

“The wool grown by my sheep… has just the characteristics needed to make beautiful yarn. Excellent nutrition means the wool is long in the staple, dense, with high tensile strength and a high comfort factor.”
- Nan Bray

White Gum Wool and Augustbird  

My collaboration with White Gum Wool is a story of serendipity and shared values that spans over a decade. It was over ten years ago when I first had the pleasure of meeting Nan Bray, and was introduced to White Gum Wool. I reached out to her when I was on the hunt for organic Australian wool after loosing my supplier and this sparked an instant connection.  

Since then, Nan and I have worked closely together, sharing ideas, inspirations, and a deep commitment to our craft. Over the years we've embarked on countless creative endeavours, from designing new yarn colourways to exploring and creating new yarn blends. Each project has been an opportunity to blend Nan's expertise in wool production with my passion for colour and knitting, resulting in yarns that not only look beautiful but also reflect our shared values of sustainability and quality.  

As we celebrate a decade of collaboration, I'm filled with gratitude for the opportunity to work alongside Nan and White Gum Wool. Our journey together has been nothing short of remarkable, and I look forward to many more years of creativity, friendship, and shared success.    


White Gum Wool sure it something special. As a yarn dyer, knitter and nature lover, I understand the importance of choosing yarn that not only feels good but also aligns with our values of sustainability and ethical production. With its softness, purity, and integrity, White Gum Wool embodies everything I look for in a yarn. From the lush pastures of the farm to the skilled hands that spin each skein, there's a story of care and craftsmanship woven into every fibre.   As we knit and crochet with White Gum Wool, we become part of that story. So let's continue to support farms and businesses like White Gum Wool, who are leading the way in ethical wool production. Together, we can create a more sustainable future, one stitch at a time.        


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