9 Queensland manufacturers to add to your Christmas shopping list

By Shay Chalmers, Director, Strategic Engineering Australia

We have an abundance of high-quality, affordable, consumer-ready products made right here in Queensland, but we hear little about them.

I’ve decided to list nine of my favourite manufacturers and retailers who make buying local even easier.

Each of these Queensland businesses are manufacturing their products locally, enabling local manufacturing jobs. They use innovative manufacturing processes, are sustainability led and are conscious of making a positive social impact. What’s not to love!

Read on to learn more about all the great products we can get online and in-store, made right at our back doorstep.

1. Full Circle Fibres – Brisbane (state-wide supply chain)

Full Circle Fibres is all about linking the manufacturing process from the grower right through to the end-user. Meriel, creator of Full Circle Fibres, is a passionate textile technologist (nerd for fabric manufacture) and lives with her family in Brisbane.

They have a great little online store where you can pick up tote bags, throws, fabric and yarn by the meter. As a customer, you’ll find out about how they use sustainable and ethically sourced fibres, yarns and fabrics, get crafting tips, and articles about their wonderful growers, suppliers and processors.

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2. Sobah Beverages – Gold Coast

Demand for alcohol-free beverages is rapidly increasing, world-wide. Gold Coast-based Sobah Beverages is our local leader and Australia’s first non-alcoholic craft beer company.

Proudly Aboriginal owned and led, Sobah produce fresh, crisp beer that can be enjoyed without the headache!

They are all-for breaking down the stigma of socialising sober, providing a better choice for those who are not drinking for whatever reason at whatever time.

Sobah holds its indigenous heritage ties close, and the company aims to raise cultural awareness and promote Aboriginal arts, language and history through the range.

(I’m not usually a beer drinker, but how can we not support these guys?)

Sobar non-alcoholic beverages manufactured on the Gold Coast

3. Tambo Teddies – Outback Queensland and Toowoomba

Don’t let the cute teddies fool you, these guys have their manufacturing a-game, on. The Tambo Teddies company needed to create a new manufacturing hub in Toowoomba and increased production from 50 to 250 a week, to meet the increasing demand for their products. They are now looking at export to the UK and have interest from Korea too.

It’s not surprising to learn why.

Created in Outback Queensland, Tambo Teddies are tenderly crafted from 100% woollen sheepskin, truly an Australian hand-made product.

In the workshop, you can meet your new lifelong companion, over 49,000 teddy bears have been made at Tambo and yours will have its own unique number and personality; no two bears are ever the same.

You might fall in love with Macfarlane Michael or Tambo Station Tony or not be able to resist the charms of little Drensmaine Debra, but be assured there is a teddy bear just waiting to go home with you.

Handcrafted Tambo Teddies made in Queensland

4. Nourishing Bites –Townsville

These delicious, wholesome treats are for people who want to indulge themselves and eat healthily at the same time. (My hand goes straight up!)

Nourishing Bites is an Indigenous-owned business who make a wide range of utterly rich and satisfying baked and raw products. Find everything from decadent desserts, to energy-boosting healthy snacks. Gluten-free (coeliac friendly), dairy-free, refined sugar-free, egg-free, vegetarian, vegan and paleo-friendly – they have all the options covered.

What I truly love about this Queensland manufacturer is that they search their local area and the rest of Australia for suppliers who bring the same passion and integrity to their products and ingredients. For example, the raw macadamias grown by the O’Neill family who own Wondaree Macadamias in the nearby Atherton Tablelands.


5. 17 Rocks – Brisbane (Zero waste facility)

Custom made chocolates made from bean to bar right here in Brisbane. 17 Rocks is one of the tastiest hidden gems going around.

They’re a small independent Australian chocolate factory that makes chocolate from imported cacao beans grown in Papua New Guinea.

They have a shop at 17 Mile Rocks you can view and taste all their awesome goodies at! (The chocolate-coated freeze-dried strawberries are my personal favourite.)

Visitors to the local factory are immersed in the smells and sounds, which change depending on what 17 Rocks are manufacturing. They could be roasting beans, grinding nibs, milling hot chocolate or tempering delicious chocolate. They are also a zero waste manufacturing facility, every part of their process is used or reused.

6. Dunkle Authentic – Brisbane

Dunkle Authentic is a feel-good makeup and skincare label that I personally use, and can’t recommend enough.

Each small-batch is made in Australia using quality raw materials and ethical manufacturing practices. As a natural beauty advocate herself, founder and maker Molly Dunkle believes in gentle skincare and simple makeup that inspire feel-good moments every day.

7. Game Enough? – Banyo

Game Enough is a majority-owned Indigenous business established in 2016 to promote accessibility to the unique tastes of Australian game meats and native plant-based foods. Well, I’m game to try! Are you?

They provoke an interesting thought, saying “to us the Australian market has remained resistant to the use of its native flora and fauna as sources of food, particularly given that they have evolved to the natural conditions of this continent, unlike most of the introduced species.”

Game Enough's delicious looking chutney hamper

8. Chern’ee Sutton – Gold Coast and Bundaberg

Chern’ee Sutton is a proud Aboriginal artist and Kalkadoon woman from the emu foot province around the Mount Isa area in North West Queensland. Chern’ee has also learnt the art of innovation, extending her hand to the art of chocolates!

Her paintings are mostly created in Bundaberg where she currently lives. Chern’ee has however done artist in residencies at several locations including at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, where athletes and dignities from around the world contributed a fingerprint to that painting including Prince Charles and Prince Edward.

You can view her stunning paintings in galleries in Sydney and exhibitions including at the Pullman and Mercure hotel King George Square, Brisbane.

Chern’ee created her own chocolate range called “Chern’ee Sutton Originals” which is the first time Aboriginal art has been embossed onto the chocolate bars.

The chocolates are manufactured on the Gold Coast QLD and are distributed all around Australia, including at international and domestic airports, theme parks and souvenir shops (and they are also available for sale on her website).

9. Backa Gourmet – Gold Coast

Looking for something extra delish to add to a food platter? Backa Gourmet is a local producer of fermented dried meats made from local goods. They only use selected premium meats which add to their quality and guarantee.

They swear by the fact that nothing is artificially treated, instead they use an all-natural process to achieve a beautiful tasting product. They only salt cure our products and use a starter culture to get the process started. Glutens and preservatives are also not used in any part of our process or products.

I hope this list has tempted your taste buds and sparked some ideas on how you can buy locally! I have not been paid to endorse any of these businesses. These are just some of the many Queensland manufacturers I believe deserve our praise, and ongoing support.

I strongly believe that we as consumers can make personal choices about our product purchases which do the right thing socially, environmentally and economically. I empower you to use your personal power to support our local manufacturers.

This article originally appeared on Shay Chalmers’s LinkedIn page. It has been republished with permission.

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