|John and Eliza Blundstone|
The Cane Family
James and Thomas Cuthbertson
Blundstone Footwear (// BLUND-stən) is an Australian footwear brand, based in Hobart, Tasmania, with most manufacturing being made overseas since 2007. The company's best-known product is its line of laceless, elastic-sided, ankle-length boots. The official name for this product line is "The Original", although the boots are colloquially known as "Blunnies" in Australia.
The Blundstone company originated from companies set up by several free settlers who emigrated from England to Tasmania.
John and Eliza Blundstone arrived in Hobart Town from Derbyshire, England on October 14, 1855. John Blundstone worked as a coachbuilder until 1870, when he began importing footwear from England later manufacturing boots in Hobart's Liverpool Street.
By 1892, Blundstone's eldest son, Sylvanus, had joined him in business, and the pair formed J. Blundstone & Son, manufacturing boots in two outlets on Collins Street, later buying a purpose-built two storey factory on Campbell Street. The company's importation arm was run by John's other son, William, as W.H. Blundstone & Co.
Both companies initially prospered, but at the turn of the century, they found themselves in financial difficulty. J. Blundstone & Son was bought in 1901 by the Cane family of ironmongers, and W.H. Blundstone & Co. went bankrupt in 1909. The Canes ran the company until the Great Depression in Australia caused a downturn in profits, which once again saw the company sold. The buyers were two brothers: James T.J. and Thomas Cuthbertson, who purchased the business in 1932. They were grandsons of James Cuthbertson an English settler who set out for Melbourne, but was apparently blown off course by the Roaring Forties and landed in Hobart instead in 1853, where he had also set up a shoemaking and importing business.
The Cuthbertson brothers set about amalgamating their companies' manufacturing operations, retaining the Blundstone name for the company's tannery in South Hobart, and the current factory and headquarters in Moonah.
The tannery closed in 2009.
In January 2007, Blundstone Australia announced, due to increased costs, that it would shift production and manufacturing activities from Hobart and New Zealand to Thailand and India within the year, resulting in 360 job losses in Australia. However, Blundstone planned to continue to make 200,000 pairs of footwear at the Tasmanian factory each year, most likely gumboots.
The last two manufactured pairs of the Blundstone 803 are pictured here, unworn:
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