Twiggy Forrest makes Akubra a perfect fit with his RM Williams boots

Twiggy Forrest has put his money where his head is -- into the iconic Akubra brand.

Twiggy Forrest has put his money where his head is -- into the iconic Akubra brand. Photo: AAP

Mining magnate Andrew “Twiggy” Forest has bought the iconic Akubra hat company, making a head-to-toe combination with his purchase of bootmaker RM Williams in 2020.

Tattarang, owned by Forrest and wife Nicola, acquired the hatter from the Keir family, who trace their ownership back 147 years.

In October 2020, Tattarang bought iconic boots brand RM Williams, which has since hired almost 500 extra staff and added two manufacturing lines at its Adelaide workshop.

The two brands will remain separate within Tattarang.

The acquisition will ensure the brand remains Australian-owned and locally made, with Tattarang committing to continue manufacturing in Kempsey on the NSW North Coast.

Akubra’s outgoing chairman Stephen Keir IV said the family had chosen to sell to Tattarang because they wanted the company to have custodians who would protect and invest in it.

‘The right custodians’

“We thought long and hard about selling the business after five generations of family ownership, and after we saw how the Forrests have invested in local manufacturing with RM Williams, we decided they were the right custodians for Akubra,” Mr Keir said.

Founded in Hobart in 1876, Akubra’s handmade hats have been produced for Australian Olympic teams, the Australian Armed Forces and featured in classic films.

Each hat takes about six weeks and 162 steps to make, passing through 60 pairs of hands in that time.

Mrs Forrest, who grew up in regional NSW, said she was committed to protecting and enhancing Akubra’s legacy.

“The image of my father’s tireless energy and perseverance, measured by the sweat on his Akubra, remains etched in my memory,” she said.

“An Akubra has always been part of my life and as a new custodian I am excited to help new generations discover this treasured Australian icon.”

-with AAP

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