For 150 years we’ve been a company always on the go, always evolving. It’s been that way since John Blundstone started making fit-for-purpose footwear that would withstand the cobbled city streets, rugged farmland, dance and factory floors of Hobart, Tasmania, in 1870.
And just like our island home which has changed a lot since 1870, our business has evolved but our ethos remains the same. Our commitment to quality and innovation has endured the Great Depression, both world wars, and an ever-changing fashion landscape - from the swinging ‘60s to ’90s grunge to festival fashion in the 2000s.
We’ve put boots on Aussie soldiers, Everest expeditioners, footballers, factory workers, farmers, and police men and women. We’ve inspired artists, musicians, chefs, tap dancers, and Olympic athletes to put their best foot forward. Our range of kids boots has inspired a new generation of Blundsone wearers to jump puddles on rainy afternoons.
Our history and home remain a source of inspiration - but it’s the people that wear our boots that really inspire us.
Our story begins when the Blundstones arrive in Hobart in the 1850s, following a 93-day boat journey from England. John Blundstone and Sons is founded in 1870. Blundstone started importing boots from England before making boots from locally sourced leathers.
A defining moment for Blundstone comes at the International Exhibition in Hobart in 1894 where our footwear are deemed ‘exceptional’, ‘exceedingly well made’, and ‘second to none’ – a sign of good things to come.
Blundstone supplied every description of men’s, women’s and children’s boots designed to be lived and worked in, in the beautiful but harsh Tasmanian landscape.
The Blundstone trademark is amended to include the word Tasmania.
A state of the art shoe factory is built in central Hobart, producing 2,000 pairs of boots and shoes per week.
When World War 1 breaks out, Blundstone is one of 20 manufacturers contracted to manufacture boots for Aussie troops.
The original business name is retained due to its long standing with quality and reliability.
The Cuthbertsons remain the owners to this day.
Blundstone supplies half a million pairs of boots to the Australian army in World War II, including boots with jungle cleats worn on the now infamous Kokoda Track.
These boots are so coveted that American soldiers try, and succeed, in swapping them for their own.
This army design creates the foundation for Blundstone's future workboots.
Post-war, Blundstone leads the way with its cutting-edge sole technology and word of our design and manufacturing ingenuity begins to spread.
Our Campbell Street factory is soon inundated with requests for made-to-order workboots that could withstand the most extreme conditions, including the 350°C in the baking room of smelters.
Towards the end of the 1950s Blundstone is producing up to 200 pairs of boots a day under the stewardship of Managing Director Harold Cuthbertson.
By the 1960s, more than 90 years after it was founded, Blundstone stands tall as Tasmania’s preeminent manufacturer of footwear. This is the era our now iconic #500 series is born.
These boots are true originals. The sole design has evolved over time to incorporate new technology, but the overall design of our distinctive pull-up tab Chelsea boots continue to define us.
The #500 has since sold more than 25 million pairs globally, proving a hit with workers, adventurers, and creatives alike.
In the late-1970s Blundstone reaches new heights, literally. Our boots are on the feet of an Australian expedition to Everest, with the Nepalese sherpas loving them so much they request (and receive) them as parting gifts.
Papua emerges as a developing market, providing pathways to Pacific countries such as Fiji, Samoa, and the Solomon Islands.
We forge a partnership with the CSIRO to explore new technologies and production processes. The decade ends with an Australian Design Award for our armour-tread range of safety boots, the first ever bestowed on a footwear manufacturer.
Managing Director Sir Harold Cuthbertson is knighted for services to industry and community, while demand for factory space sees us on the move again.
Our factory is relocated to Moonah in Hobart; we establish a factory in Auckland, New Zealand; and gumboots now join our growing suite of products. In the mid-1980s exports into Europe open up for the first time, and we receive an Australian Export Award in 1986, recognising relationships with Pacific nations and New Zealand.
Our range expands to again include Blundstone boots for kids and a range of safety footwear for women, an acknowledgement of their place in industry.
By the late-1990s, Blundstone is sold in 22 countries worldwide.
Soon after, we launch our first lace-up range - Mountain Master hiking boots. Perfect for globetrotters – they come with their very own Lonely Planet guide.
By the mid-2000s, Blundstone is producing one million pairs of boots annually out of its Hobart factory.
During this decade changes in consumer choice, global supply chain, and trade agreements brings a new direction for the business and production of our leather expands internationally.
Today our products are manufactured in six sites around the world, including Hobart.
A year later we win a second coveted Australian Design Award, this time for the #980 mining boot. Proving good design and supreme work wear aren’t mutually exclusive, these are credited with fundamentally changing the way mining boots are made.
Still proudly family-owned and headquartered in Tasmania, we continue to grow our footprint from the end of the earth.
And while our boots won’t change the world, the people wearing them just might.