Tambo is the oldest town in Western Queensland with a history overflowing with wool and sheep. Once buzzing with shearing teams and huge sheep properties, wild dogs, drought and the wool price crash have forced most woolgrowers to either sell up, or go into cattle.
While most have long forgotten the wool industry in the district, there is a business nestled in the main street of town still keeping locals employed in the wool industry and boosting the local economy.
Tambo Teddies is a hot spot for tourists travelling out West, however this is not your average outback store full of tourist knick knacks. This is a teddy bear workshop. Actually it’s so much more than that. When you shop at Tambo Teddies, it is an investment in not just the township of Tambo and it’s local families, but the Australian wool industry.
These unique teddy bears aren’t made in bulk in a stale factory, they are handmade right there in shop. When the term handmade is used, it’s not used lightly either. The 100 % Australian wool is handcut, stiched by a seamstress and stuffed by hand. With such a hands on approach, the turn over may be a little slower but it’s opened up jobs to locals and has kept precious funds in town.
If you have the time to hang around during your travels, the amazing women of Tambo Teddies will even make your very own teddy for you right before your eyes, naming it after you or the lucky loved one you are gifting it to.
The authentic handmade approach means no two teddies are the same either. With different sheep skin cuts, wool types and manufacturing adjustments for the materials, they all have their own personality. To match each individual teddy, the naming process even pays homage to the town. The names are a marriage of a local property in the district and a local, like ‘Truno Tina’ or ‘Toolong Tessa’.
The commitment of owners, Alison Shaw (former woolclasser and local wool industry legend), Tammy Johnson and Kiralee Fox boost the local economy and help keep the wool industry alive in their town has not gone unnoticed.
These iconic teddies have been gifted to the Duke and Dutchess of Cambridge, have taken out the National Regional Hero award and one even sits proudly in my parents home in Brisbane.
Not to worry if you can’t make it all the way out to Outback Queensland to experience this incredible business and meet the locals, you can shop your very own piece of Tambo online at https://www.tamboteddies.com.au/ . And when your teddy has had a lot of love from little hands, they also can pop right back to the talented Tambo Teddy ladies for a little TLC and repair.