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Hat History: Akubra Hats

Akubra Vintage Australian Hat Poster

Akubra: Australian for "Hat"

January 26th is Australia Day - the national day of Australia. It commemorates the founding of the first colony in Sydney by the Brits, back in 1788. It's sort of like 4th of July celebrations here in the USA: after the parades and fireworks, they throw a snag (sausage) on the barbie (grill) and head down to the pub (bar) to watch a Footy match (Rugby game)!

So to help you get in the Aussie spirit, here's a little history of Akubra Hats, and the quality that goes into every hat they make.

About Akubra Hats

If you can imagine all the rugged durability that made Stetson hats famous, but manufactured in Australia by a fifth-generation family business, then you've just imagined Akubra as it is today. They have been producing hats Down Under since 1874. The word "Akubra" is thought to have been derived from an Aboriginal word meaning "head covering."

In some ways, the factory floor looks very similar to the Texas manufacturing plant which makes Stetson hats. They use traditional felting methods that have been around for a very, very long time: there's lots of water, lots of steam and plenty of fascinating, industrial-age-style machinery.

Here is a video showing how Akubra does it, with a dash of Aussie pride - and a bit of Connecticut hat history. At 1:36 in the video, an antique fur sorting machine appears, labeled "DORAN BROTHERS INC., DANBURY CT, USA."

At some point, Akubra brought a piece of the former "Hat Capital of the World" down to the southern hemisphere. It's true enough that they don't make those machines like they used to - or even at all! It's good to know that the Aussies are taking good care of it and keeping it alive.

A great example of the quality workmanship which goes into these hats is found in the Akubra Banjo Patterson Hat, named after the famous Australian Poet. 100% fur felt with a 2 3/4" brim. Its unique leather hat band is made from Barramundi, an Australian fish. The leather has a smooth, shiny finish and a marbled look.

Keen for something else? Just head over to our Online Catalog to find a quality hat, and Bob's-yer-uncle! (Ausssie slang for, "if you go ahead and do that, it will turn out allright.")