Akubra is owned by the Keir family. It was founded by Benjamin Dunkerlay since 1897. Akubra is a footwear and clothing line found in Kempsey, New South Wales, and Australia.
History of the brand name?
It was back in 1912 when one of their shareholders and their current chairman at that time, Arthur P. Stewart, who registered the Akubra as its trademark, and since then, they have been using Akubra as its brand name. Akubra is believed to be taken from an Australian Aboriginal word that means “head covering.” This may be so, there hasn’t been a lot of evidences procured to support this hunch.
How it started?
Benjamin Dunkerley was an immigrant from England who ventured to Australia. He descended from a family of cotton weavers. While in England, he experienced working as a hat-maker and he brought that experience with him and used it to make his own business when he arrived in Australia.
He established the Kensington Hat Mills with David Glenhill as his partner and turns out that their business did very well, but not for long. They soon filed for bankruptcy. This was just a small hump along the way of this business’ success. Benjamin re-established the Kensington Hat Mills with a new partner, H.J. Hull.
During this partnership, he was able to invent a machine that could hasten and assist them in stripping fur from the rabbit’s skin. With using this mechanized fur stripping machine that he invented, he has seen its potential, so he went to England and New York and Australia to apply for patents, which, soon, was granted.
His decade-long partnership with Hull came to an end. Later, he had another invention while having partnership with James Dugdale. This was machinery which paced up and enhanced the cones that was made making the bodies of the hat. Eventually, he relocated to Melbourne but ended up settling in Sydney, New South Wales in 1900 and established a hat-making factory in Crown Street, Surry Hills.
This paved the way for Stephen Keir as after his family moved to Australia, he got employed under Dunkerley. Stephen was from a family of Hat-makers from Manchester. While working with Dunkeryley, Stephen and Ada, Benjamin’s daughter, ended up being together and eventually married each other in 1905.
Later, Stephen Keir became the managing director, and this is when Arthur Stewart came into picture. Stewart became the distributor and is doing wonderfully being the company’s sales agent. He is also responsible why we’re calling this popular hat as Akubra right now as he registered the name Akubra back in 1912 as a trademark.
Their company was also made responsible in manufacturing the slouch hats that the military used during World War 1. They realized that the slouch hats made from rabbit fur is more durable and so since then, the company continually supplied the slouch hats to Australia’s armed forces and overall, has an estimated produce of over 2 million by the end of 2016.
Akubra is a popular trademark in Australia. People in Australia are known to be wearing Akubra hat and they feel like wearing it feels cool and more importantly, it does protect them from the harsh heat in Australia.
More than just fashion, Akubra has proved that it can stand against the harsh weather in Australia. This made Akubra a very popular wear as it serves its purpose pretty well.
It’s good to know a little more why Australian Armed Forces uses the Akubra’s slouch hat. This is important since this hat became the country’s trademark, especially since it’s been used by Australia’s military men.