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Spindle Tree: Then and Now

Can you remember 35 years ago? The 1st of June 1989 to be precise. That’s the day “The Spindle Tree” opened its doors for the first time. Way back then members of the Guild wanted an outlet for their work, mainly weaving, so a group of Guild friends got together, discussing the possibility of a “shop”.

So many questions to answer, where to open, costs, legality, membership, a co-op?

With the dedicated help of Guild members, a plan was formed. Meetings held. Mrs Sheila Beattie was by agreement voted Chair. Luckily her son Ian was a lawyer and was a great benefit in setting up the Co-operative and how to frame the constitution.

Today the Spindle Tree is still run on the same lines and conditions. Over the years many things have changed but not our core objectives or values. Tasmanian made. All natural fibres.

Where to place our “shop?” Not an easy task. Finally, it was agreed the Salamanca Arts Centre, 77 Salamanca Place, would be ideal. We began just where the stairs to the Long Gallery are now. Eighteen months later we moved to our present site 009, still within the Arts Centre. Our “home’ within the Arts Centre for over thirty plus years.


Almost all sales were cash! Credit cards had to be authorised if a sale was over $100 by the bank. Cards were run through a “click clack” machine and the forms banked along with the cash. No tap and go. Certainly not from a watch or phone. What a contrast!

Opening Hours

They have changed to accommodate membership, Covid, as well as uniformity with other alcove shops.

Early thoughts? “Can we last five years?” “The Pilots’ strike may be the end of us”. We have had four Mother / Daughter two Husband / Wife combinations and two male members over the years.

We are celebrating our 35 years and would like to invite all the Guild members and friends to view our two display’s. One Exhibition is “in house” and one is in the Lightbox Gallery within the Arts Centre.

These two display’s will run from 8th May 2024 until 1 June 2024 (correct dates, late amendment) “ THEN AND NOW “ - a history of the changing fibre world.

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