All Cowgirls need a good Cowboy Hat

All cowgirls have at least one Cowboy Hat hanging on their hat rack. Here I write about a couple of well-known brand names, one being the Stetson from America and the other Akubra from Australia.

Akubra Hats are an Australian Icon. For 130 years Akubra has been making its famous fur felt hats. The Akubra name is synonymous with the landscape of outback Australia, and their unique hats form an important part of the Australian national uniform. In the modern era Akubra Hats still form an important part of the national culture, being worn by the hard working men and women on the land as well as being presented as national gifts to those visiting dignitaries who want to take a piece of Australia home.

History of the Akubra Hat

In 1874 Benjamin Dunkerley arrived in Tasmania from England and decided to start a hat making business in Hobart. His skills as a hatter were backed by his ability to invent machinery, and soon after his arrival he had developed a mechanical method of removing the hair tip from rabbit fur so the under-fur could be used in felt hat making. Previously this task had to be done by hand.

In the early 1900's Dunkerley moved the business to Crown Street, Surry Hills, an inner suburb of Sydney, setting up a small hat making factory.

n 1904 Stephen Keir I, who had also migrated from England, joined Dunkerley. Keir had hat making experience from England, and was seen as a valuable acquisition for the business. In 1905 he married Ada Dunkerley, Benjamin's daughter and soon after was made General Manager. Since that time the hat making firm has been in the hands of succeeding generations of the Keir family. In 1911, the business became Dunkerley Hat Mills Ltd, and had a mere nineteen employees.

The trade name "Akubra" came into use in 1912. The increasing popularity resulted in the move to larger premises in Bourke Street, Waterloo and expanded production, especially of Slouch hats during World War I. Soon after all hats were branded Akubra. When Dunkerley died in 1925, ownership of the business transferred to Stephen Keir I. The business continued to flourish and when Stephen Keir retired in 1952 he was succeeded as Managing Director by his eldest son, Herbert. His second son, Stephen Keir II, served as General Manager and became Managing Director in 1972. His son, Stephen Keir III, became Managing Director in 1980. Another son, Graham, joined the firm in 1972, first as sales representative for Northern NSW and later as National Sales Manager. Unfortunately, Graham died prematurely in 1987. Stephen Keir III retired as Managing Director on 31st December 2007, allowing his son and fourth generation of the Keir family, Stephen Keir IV, to assume the mantle of Managing Director. In 2010, after working with the company for more than 56 years, Stephen Keir III O.A.M stepped down as Chairman of the Board of Directors. Stephen Keir IV, who has worked with the Akubra Company for more than 20 years, is appointed Chairman of the Board of Directors.

On 25th May 2012 Stephen Dixon Keir III passed away peacefully. He leaves behind him his wife (and former Director) Wendy, Daughters Stacey and Nicola (who both currently serve as directors of Akubra Hats), Son and Chairman of the Board of Directors Stephen Maitland Keir IV as well as seven Grandchildren. So the family tradition continues.

The Akubra Hat Factory is now based on the mid north coast of New South Wales in the town of Kempsey, having relocated from Sydney in 1974.

My favourite Akubra Cowboy Hat is the Bobby.

Available in Black, Sand, Sandstone Fawn and Tanbark Brown and sizes 53-64cm.

This classic Western Style Cowboy Hat features a tall crown and a deep upswept brim. Named after the horse that starred in the movie “Pharlap”.

Features a 12mm ribbon band, satin lining and decorative feather.

Stetson is the standard in Cowboy Hats, the essence of the Spirit of the West and an icon of everyday American lifestyle. Because of its authentic American heritage, Stetson remains as a part of history and, for the same reason will continue into the future.

Stetson, it's not just a hat, it's the hat.

History of the Stetson Hat

John B Stetson was born in 1830 the youngest of 12 children born to a master hat maker, like his older brothers, John B learned his father’s trade. Early in John B’s life he became ill, Doctors gave him a short time to live, Stetson decided not to die young. Instead he would head for the wide open spaces and try to regain his health.

It was during this period that John B had an idea for a new hat design. He made a large hat with a broad brim for protection from the sun and rain, and it had a high crown. Shortly thereafter, a man met Stetson and his companions on the trail, He noticed the hat, its rugged serviceability, and was completely taken by the new style. He offered $5 gold pieces for the hat. The first John B Stetson was sold.

After living on Pikes Peak and placer mining for gold a year John B had made no fortune but he had regained his good health. He decided to return to the east and build a business.

He prospered with a hat business in an upstairs room at seventh and callowell streets, the beginning of the John B Stetson Company. He copied current hat styles, but was not happy with them, so he decided to put his ideas into effect. He designed a hat of the finest, softest felt at half the weight of other hats. He visited the hat dealers. At one shop, Stetson’s new creation caught the eye of a customer who purchased the hat on the spot. Quickly, the dealer ordered dozen hats, and Stetson had his first large order. Still not satisfied with the local trade, Stetson thought back to Colorado the big hat, the $5 gold piece, the cowboys, and the cattle barons. Thus was born the Western Cowboy Hat, Boss of the Plains. The new design was an immediate success.

Stetson became the Cowboy Hat of the West.

In 1971 the Stetson Company moved to St. Joseph, Missouri. And in 1987 the Stetson Hat company was purchased by Resistol Hats. John B’s son G. Henry Stetson was born in Philadelphia in 1887 and grew up there. He learned the hat business from the ground up, and became a director on the board at a young age. G. Henry Stetson died on January 11 1983 at age 95; today the Stetson hat factory in Garland, Texas is one of the largest in the country and produces a line of hats in hundreds of different styles and colours. In spite of this size, however, classic styling and premium quality remain as the driving forces behind each and everyCowboy Hat. As a result, Stetson Hats are the most well-known hats in the world. Wherever and whenever Cowboy Hats are discussed Stetson will be mentioned.

The Diamante Cowboy Hat is available in colours: Silverbelly, black, mist grey and white, in sizes 6 3/4 - 7 3/4

Embrace the Cowgirl Spirit! Saddle up a horse and go riding!

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