History

  • The Tumut Broom Factory opened in 1946 as the ‘Tumut Rural Co-operative Millet Society’.
  • The co-operative had a dozen employees, and this number nearly doubled in the Sixties when millet production was at its peak int the Tumut district.
  • Cliff Wortes started working at the Co-operative just after it opened and took over the business in 1978 when the cooperative folded, staying until his retirement.
  • Cliff’s son Geoff, and Robert Richards worked on and off at the factory when they were young and returned in the late Eighties. Geoff and Rob own and operate the business today.
Rob

Rob Richards binding millet to a broom handle

Geoff Wortes stitching a broom on teh sewing machine

Geoff Wortes stitching a broom on the sewing machine

Broom Millet was grown by around 120 families in the Tumut area from the 1920’s onwards. These families produced 75% of Australia’s millet, with approximately 1200 tonnes of millet harvested when millet growing was at its peak.

Now in 2013 millet is grown on only 3 farms in the area, producing around 8 tonnes each season.
Originally there were 14 broom factories located all around Australia. Today the Tumut Broom Factory is the last millet broom factory left in the country.

Tumut Broom Factory workers in 1955

Tumut Broom Factory workers in 1955

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7 responses to “History

  1. Hello – I am wondering if you have any archives or information about when you factory first started. My father operated the Oar Factory in Laurel Hill in the 1940’s and I have been told that he invented a sanding machine for the production of broom handles for your company. His name was Thomas Gonsalves and the Batlow Historical Soc have given me this information. If you have any additional information I would be very grateful.

  2. Hello….Can I ask, how many people are employed now with the whole process? Is it just a family business, still? (I really have no idea how much your yield is) Do you ever need workers, maybe for harvesting the millet by hand?

    • Hi Warren,

      Geoff and Rob run the Broom Factory and employ one other person. We don’t harvest the millet ourselves, we purchase it from local growers in the area and in other parts of Australia. Unfortunately they are not in the position to take on any other employees however they would be happy for you to drop into the Factory for a visit.

      Thanks for contacting us

  3. Your brooms look beautiful. I was wondering if you make a cobwebber? I’ve one and wanted to buy one as a present.
    Thank you
    Kerry Ann

  4. Hi – Where can we purchase a couple of 7-tie millet brooms in northern Sydney, Gosford/Wyong or Newcastle.

    You cannot post 2 brooms?

  5. To Geoff and Rob
    In the 70’s on a trip to the snow fields we went down the coast from Sydney and travelled past Tumut, and called in to the millet factory. I bought a millet broom which lasted for years. I have not been able to buy one in comparison since. Till now, we have a caravan and ( now live in FORSTER, N.S.W.) visited Tamworth. We took a drive to beautiful Nundle. And to my surprise in a little country sell everything shop I found your wonderful millet broom. I was thrilled with my find, and now have ordered another for my sister, who lives in Sydney. I know she will be just as thrilled as I when she receives it. Hand made and Australian!! It should be better known, and better advertised , as I am sure others don’t know about this great product.
    Julia

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