Freelance writing. Out of the urban clutter of the East and now situated on the Pittwater.
Published May 17th 2012
The Akubra Hat came into existence even before it was called the Akubra Hat. Evolving from a small Tasmanian millinery into the Akubra Hat company, these hats have been made with great care for over 130 years.
This small company began in Tasmania and transferred its production to the inner Sydney suburb of Surrey Hills and is now located in the country town of Kempsey in NSW. The Akubra Hat company produces over 160,000 hats per year and it takes over 100 individual stages in the production process to produce each hat.
The production process is extraordinary to watch and there are videos on the Akubra Hat Company website that show how these hats are made. They are made strong and with character, style and craftsmanship. The production process is the same as it was in the 1900s. The machinery used today is still the same machinery used over 80 years ago.
Having been the supplier of the Australian Military slouch hat as well as the iconic version of this hat worn by our olympians and given as gifts to visiting dignitaries, the Akubra Hat Company and their iconic head wear is an integral part of the Australian psyche that has transcended the urbanisation of the modern era. There is more to this hat than just a piece of clothing. It symbolises the best of our spirit and tells us and the world that we are Australian.
I was taught, when living in country WA to wet my hat and let it shape itself. I don't see these instructions on any of the labelling or instructions which come with the Akubra Hats, but I did follow and value the bush craft of aging my hat to fit.
The Akubra Hat Company has been largely a family run company over its lifetime and currently employs around 85 people. Proir to the Sydney Olympics, employees were given a bonus so that they could match the amount and be able to attend the Olympic games in 2000.
There used to be tours of the factory, which uses a very high labour intensive process to create these great bush hats. So please, make the effort to visit the Akubra Hat Company website and see this amazing process. A whole Australian company, with an iconic place in our country's history.