IPS Seminar 1

Lunch time Seminar (School of HASS/Fulbright)

Sheep in High Places:Trade, politics, & the Wool Supply in World War I

Madelyn Shaw, Fulbright Senior Scholar
Trish Fitzsimons, Griffith Film School, Brisbane

Wednesday 27 March 2019 – 12.0noon-1.0pm
(Rector’s Conference Room, Building 1, UNSW Canberra @ ADFA)

Summary: Uniforms are as important to military preparedness as ammunition. The cold climate warfare of 1914-1918 was facilitated by the 19th century industrialization of wool textile production and concomitant growth of Australasian sheep pastoralism. By 1900, the wool manufacturing centres of Germany, Poland, France, the UK, the US, Italy, and Japan all relied on Australia and New Zealand as key suppliers of raw wool. War disrupted this intricate system. Fortunes were made, alliances and friendships tested, by the challenges of keeping a world mired in conflict warm. And the supply and deployment of wool in World War I had lasting impact, both for civilians and the military. This presentation, which includes two short documentary films, examines one facet of a larger collaborative project, titled Fabric of War: A Hidden History of the Global Wool Trade 


                            Flock of Sheep on the White House Lawn, 1918 - Courtesy: Library of Congress


Madelyn Shaw

Madelyn Shaw is in Australia as a Fulbright Senior Scholar, to develop Fabric of War with colleague Trish FitzSimons. She has been a curator at the National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, since 2015, capping more than 30 years of museum experience, in both full-time curatorial and administrative positions and as a collections consultant and guest curator. She was lead author and co-curator for the critically acclaimed American Civil War sesquicentennial project, Homefront & Battlefield: Quilts & Context in the Civil War, which used textiles to engage audiences with issues of race, gender, labour, patriotism, and memory. Other publications and exhibitions have focused on how textiles shaped the history of the city of New Bedford, Massachusetts; the rise and fall of the American silk industry; the production and consumption of textiles and clothing in colonial British North America; the role of textiles in the American ‘China Trade’; and the shape of the American fashion industries in the early 20th century.





Trish FitzSimons

Trish FitzSimons is a documentary filmmaker and historian, and a professor at Griffith Film School in Brisbane. She was one of three authors of Australian Documentary: History, Practices, Genres (Cambridge Uni Press, 2011). She has produced and directed broadcast documentaries (Snakes and Ladders - A Film about Women Education and History (ABC Television) and Another Way (SBS)) but in recent years her film work has found its audience via social history exhibitions (Channels of History and Navigating Norman Creek). For the past few years she has been a manager of the Griffith Film School as Deputy Head, and Acting Head (2017). Last year she produced and directed Fabric of War: Why Wool, with funding from Australian Wool Innovation. She is a 2019 Queensland Government Smithsonian fellow, developing Fabric of War in the US in conjunction with Madelyn Shaw.