18th January 2024

Semco Art Neddlework Pty Ltd.

Everything you needed for “fancy work”. The letters SEM stand for Stanlet Everard Mullen, the firm’s founder.

Semco was established in 1907 by Stanley Everad Mullens, importing paper goods such as post cards, transfers, etc. Stanley died in 1910, then a fire destroyed the building, however the new director, C H Mylis,  steered the firm in innovative directions. He wanted the firm to be a kind, fair, and healthy place for his staff. He moved the factory in 1918 from the dirt of the city to the fresh air of Black Rock, in a new facility surrounded by gardens. Sporting facilities were provided, and classes in singing and physical trainging held. The firm was making fabric as well as paper products.

Every year they held an art needlework competition, with thousands of entries, the works being displayed at either the town hall or in Semco’s Collins Street show rooms. Interstate ladies could view smaller exhibits in capital city retail outlets. They exported to New Zealand, the South Pacific, and America.

Coats Paton and Semco merged in 1983

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