|Akubra Hat Definition for the Clothing Industry|
The original hat-making factory, not called Akubra at that time, was founded in the early 1870s by Benjamin Dunkerley. A recent immigrant to Australia, Dunkerley set up shop in Tasmania after inventing a machine that removed the hair tip from rabbit fur, leaving the softer under-fur for use in the making of felt hats.
Dunkerley and his family later relocated to Sydney, in New South Wales, where he was joined by Stephen Keir I. While working for Dunkerley Hat Mills, Kier married Ada Dunkerley, Benjamin's daughter. After Benjamin Dunkerley's death in 1918, Stephen Kier took over the reins of the company, moving to a larger premises and adopting the brand name Akubra.
Akubra is famous for providing the Slouch hats used by Australian forces in both World War One and Two. In the 1950s, the Akubra company expanded its range when it won the licence to produce Stetson hats in Australia, and by the 1970s, the company was so successful that it was forced to relocate again, to larger premises in Kempsey. Today, the company is still a family concern. Its current owners are the great-grandchildren of Benjamin Dunkerley.
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