Since 2019 we have been exploring ways this heritage-listed site can be used to connect creatively. Through bushfire recovery and pandemic, we have worked with artists and creative organisations to present workshops, markets, exhibitions and events, using creative activity to celebrate, gather and support.
Fabrik is now closed for redevelopment, with construction work adapting the site to make it welcoming, accessible and fit for purpose as a cultural hub.
When we reopen in 2024, we will launch a new stage for Fabrik as an arts and heritage hub with a focus on textiles. We can’t wait to share it with you.
Fabrik is owned and operated by Adelaide Hills Council
The Onkaparinga Woollen Mill site is one of the few former mill precincts in Australia that has been well preserved and successfully repurposed. When the Mill closed in the early 1990s the precinct was managed by Council and became a home for start-up business enterprises. Today there are eight established food, wine and engineering businesses on site and as many people employed as there were when the Mill closed.
Throughout this time a cluster of industrial buildings in the heart of the site have been used for cultural purposes, including markets, community museum displays and art exhibitions. In 2015 a local art collective called Hills Art formed to develop arts and cultural activity at the Mill and to demonstrate to Council and the wider community the potential the site held as a cultural centre. The success of these community members, along with extensive community consultation, led to the decision of the Adelaide Hills Council in 2018 to develop an arts and heritage hub, aimed at building community connections, encouraging community creativity, attracting visitors to Lobethal and supporting arts business enterprises.
The language of textiles is rich and we had many wonderful options to choose from. Fabrik is the German word for factory or mill and its use acknowledges the old woollen mill’s functions as well as giving a nod to Lobethal’s German roots.