Pinches Ryzowy created Creswick Woollen Mills in 1947. He was the personification of all the qualities that make the Australian textiles industry so remarkable today - hard work, determination, enterprise and ingenuity. Like so many migrant Australians, Pinches experienced unimaginable horrors and suffering in his younger years; experiences that gave him mettle, creativity and untold courage.
The Polish-born immigrant fled Poland without his family to Russia to escape the Nazis in World War Two. Once there, running now from both the Red Army and the Nazi’s, he fled to Japan and then onto China. From Shanghai, he got himself to the United States as a refugee. In his brief time in the US, he was able to make some connections and finally emigrated to Australia in 1947.
In that same year, he and a fellow migrant mate decided to start Creswick Woollen Mills. Pinches (or Paul as he became over time), used his business savvy to get a bank to lend them 25,000 pounds. This was a remarkable accomplishment during one of Australia’s notoriously conservative banking eras. With a cheque in hand, the two men bought an old wickerworks factory in Creswick. From here Paul went onto proudly produce grey woollen blankets to send to the Australian soldiers during the Korean War and so a successful family business began.
Creswick Woollen Mills is now run by Paul’s grandchildren Boaz Herszfeld and Sharon Herszfeld. They obviously bear the same traits as Paul Ryzowy, as the business continues to thrive year on year despite many external challenges. It now produces an extensive range of quality woollen garments sold online and across a network of eight retail stores, has an exclusive range of blankets in David Jones and an ever-growing international export business. Pinches Paul Ryzowy’s Woollen Mill is now a multimillion-dollar business and with a major redevelopment on the horizon, the future of the Creswick Woollen Mills looks very bright indeed.