This cotton pillowcase is made from a 'Bakers Gem' brand 25-pound flour bag originally filled by the Burrows' Hume Flour Mill in the New South Wales town of Albury. The fabric from the bag was cut and hemmed to convert it for reuse during the Great Depression and afterwards. It was made and used by members of the Manwaring family from about 1930 to 1945.
The old Hume flour mill in Albury was bought in 1869 by John Burrows Pty Ltd. It closed in 1908, was dismantled in 1909, rebuilt in 1910 and sold in 1946 to Bunge Australia Pty Ltd. The Hume was one of several flour mills which used to operate in Albury including Fanny Ceres, Richard Heaver, Meddler and Brebner, and Alexander Moon.
Margaret Simpson, Curator,
Phillip Simpson, 'Historical Guide to New South Wales', Australian Scholarly Publishing Pty Ltd, North Melbourne, Vic., 2020.
This simple household item is an excellent example of the 'making do' tradition and the local re-use of materials. Unlike recycling, such re-use does not require transport to a depot or factory, sorting, forming into a new product and transport to the consumer. As it cuts out all these energy-consuming steps, and the energy-intensive step of melting in the case of plastic, glass or metal, re-use is preferable to recycling.
Debbie Rudder, Curator, 2012