The Amco Clothing Company had its origins in Sydney in 1948 manufacturing butchers aprons and painters drop sheets! It became a well known brand of jeans and other casual wear before going into liquidation in 1980. It had morphed into the Amco International Clothing Company by the next year. The brand is now owned by Jagger Australia Pty Ltd and manufactures in China.
Australian Knitting Mills Limited: Richmond
In 1899 Thomas Murry &Co established a small knitting mill in Richmond. The mill expanded several times to keep up with increased production. In 1908 they began to produce Golden Fleece brand woollen underwear. These were made from 100% Merino Fleece. In 1910 the company changed its name to the Australian Knitting Mills. The Kookaburra brand (underwear made of wool/cotton mix) was established were established by 1917 (see the 2 buttons below). If you glance out the window of your train at Richmond station you can see the old mill building.
Barcol Knitting Mill: Prahran
Barcol operated in Chapel Street, Prahran from about 1924 until 1931. it was listed on the stock exchange in 1926 as Barcol Manufacturing Company Pty Ltd.
Bond’s Industries Limited, Sydney:
Around 1907 an American by the name of George Alan Bond came to Australia. From 1915 he started patenting and trademarking article of clothing. The firm of George A. Bond and Company was the start of what became Bonds Industries Limited. From 1932 to 1938 they advertised ‘Silver Ram’ pure woollen underwear.
Over many years several tailors and manufacturers have used this slogan and/or brand name. The original “Can’t Tear ‘Em” tailors were Messers Turnball and W. Shortal of Albury.
In Townsville, Carse’s were selling “Miners Moles, Can’t Tear ‘Em” in 1903-4. From 1917 onwards ‘Can’t Tear ‘Em’ work trousers were being sold in Queensland. These may have been made by Josephson & Sons in Brisbane. Certainly they were using this slogan from around 1931. (Messrs Sargood & Gardiner of Sydney took them to court for copyright infringement in 1935, claiming their branding using a bulldog was being copied, but lost the case, as their bulldog was associated with a ‘Top Dog’ trademark slogan, and was considered substantially different.) The ‘Can’t-Tear-‘Em’ work clothes were being sold Australia wide from around 1949.
The company continues today as CTE P/L who “manufacture and design of combat uniform and specialised protective clothing, industrial workwear, high visibility and flame retardant, wet weather, structural and bushfire assemblies.”
Casben Productions Ltd: Sydney.
Casben productions made swim shorts, shorts, and sportswear from around 1946 to approx 1962. It was (or became) a subsidiary of Whitmont shirt company. The Company was named after Wilfred Casben, who was also involved with other clothing firms.
“Our firm was established in 1895 in Sydney, and were one of the first tenants in the Strand Arcade. Over the years we have moved about within the city, and currently sell from our city store at 276 Pitt St as well as manufacturing and wholesaling from our factory/office at Marrickville.”
William Christie started his business as a specialist umbrella maker. His father had come to Melbourne from Scotland when William was young although he later moved to Sydney. The business also sold ladies wear, Scottish dress and accessories as well as military dress accessories and flags.
Dunlop Weatherproofs Australia Pty. Ltd.: Wagga Wagga
In 1944 the Dunlop rubber Co. Ltd took over a munitions factory in Wagga Wagga and registered a garment division of the company to make uniforms for the military. After the war they continued as the largest single employer in the region, only closing in 1977.
Fletcher Jones: Warrnambool
David Fletcher Jones, clothing manufacturer and retailer, was born in Bendigo in 1895. He purchased a tailoring and menswear business in Warrnambool in 1924. He moved his business into making quality fitted trousers, including for the army. In 1948 a new factory was constructed on the site of a former rubbish dump, with extensive gardens that became, and remain, a tourist attraction. In the late 1940s he changed the business into a co-operative with his employees, renaming it Fletcher Jones and Staff Pty Ltd. In the mid 1950s they extended into women’s clothes. Mr Jones died in 1977. The business was sold in 1998. Many of the stores, including the Warrnambool factory, were sold 2011.
Goode, Durrant and Murray Ltd:
In 1882 a firm by the name of ‘Goode, Durrant, Tite and Co’ was started in Adelaide as a softgoods importer, becoming ‘Goode, Durrant & Co’ in 1894 when William Henry Tite retired. In 1887 an office was opened in Perth. From around 1899 a factory for manufacturing menswear under the ‘Federal Clothing’ brand started, extending to ladies wear and footwear. To improve profitability, the company merged in 1934 with the South Australian, West Australian and Broken Hill branches of the firm of D. & W. Murray Ltd to form Goode, Durrant and Murray Ltd. The overlapping letters G, D and M of the company’s name can be seen near the top of the card.
(David Murray and his brother William ran a retail, then later wholesale drapery store ‘D. & W. Murray’ in Kind William Street, Adelaide from 1852, and later expanded around Australia.)
The trademark ‘Goodura’ ( a contraction from Goode and Durrant, but also referring to ‘good and durable’) was registered in 1921. It initially was used for the company’s carpets, floor cloths and oilcloths, but would be used for other materials, hats, coats, trousers, shirts, suits, boots and pyjamas.
Barnet Glass (1849-1918) came to Melbourne around 1876 having learnt the trade of manufacturing waterproofing clothing in Manchester, England. His company, the ‘Pioneer Rubber Company’ manufacturered ‘Hercules’ brand waterproof clothing from 1893 until 1905 when the company was bought out by Dunlop Rubber Company. (Barnett would start another company to import and manufacture car tyres, which was later also bought by Dunlop).
Lincoln Mills: Coburg
Since around 1801, when convicts started making woollen blankets in Parramatta, mills have been a part of Australia’s industrial landscape. Lincoln Mills were built in Coburg in 1909.
S.A.W. Co Adelaide (also S.A.Wn. Co. Adelaide)
In 1883 the South Australia Woollen Company was formed with 30 employees on the site of a previous tweed factory in Lobethal. The company began supplying military, customs and railway uniforms from 1891. They produced supplies for troops for the Boer both World Wars. Their brand of woollens, “Onkaparinga”, became so well known that the company was renamed Onkaparinga Woollen Company Limited in 1928. The mill ceased production in 1991.