Article by David Southwell courtesy of Daily Mail Australia.
Mining magnate Gina Rinehart continues on her mission to preserve and rejuvenate classic Aussie clothing brands by snapping up Rossi Boots.
Following its purchase of Driza-Bone, Mrs Rinehart’s company S. Kidman & Co has bought the 100-year-old footwear manufacturer for an undisclosed price as part of its ‘commitment to preserving iconic national brands’.
Founded by Arthur Rossiter in 1910 Rossi Boots sells high-quality leather boots for both work and casual wear and was a major supplier to diggers during both World Wars.
The move brings Ms Rinehart into direct retail competition with fellow mining billionaire Andrew ‘Twiggy’ Forrest who bought Aussie bootmaker RM Williams in October 2020 and Akubra in November 2023.
Mrs Rinehart said buying Rossi Boots was not just a ‘business decision’ but a ‘recognition of our national history’.
‘Rossi Boots is more than just a brand, it represents a cherished part of rural Australia’s way of life,’ she said.
‘From being worn on stations and farms around the country to supplying hundreds of thousands of pairs to our soldiers in WW1 and WW2, Rossi represents the heart and soul of Australian craftsmanship and embodies the quintessential Australian spirit of hard work, resilience and quality.
‘We are committed to nurturing its legacy by maintaining operations in Australia and are excited about the possibilities that lie ahead for Rossi Boots under the umbrella of S. Kidman and Co.’
S. Kidman chief executive Adam Giles said the boots would continue to be made locally.
‘We are committed to nurturing its legacy by maintaining operations in Australia and are excited about the possibilities that lie ahead for Rossi Boots under the umbrella of S. Kidman & Co,’ he said.
Popular Rossi designs include the classic Ripple Sole Desert Boot and more recent Endura Sole.
Rossi was last sold to Propel Group in In 2020, which also owned Driza-Bone before selling to S. Kidman.
Propel still owns equestrian-wear brand Goodwoods and clothing brand RB Sellars.
Mr Forrest, through his investment vehicle Tattarang, also purchased famed hat maker Akubra from the Keir family in November.
He said at the time it was also his mission to revitalise heritage Aussie clothing brands while keeping manufacturing onshore.
‘There’s nothing more proudly Australian than an Akubra,’ Mr Forrest said.
‘It’s hats off to the Keir family. It’s hats on for Australia. Australia is the winner out of this, keeping a legacy at home.’
Akubra’s outgoing chairman Stephen Keir IV said the family chose to sell to Tattarang because they wanted owners that would protect and invest in the company – as they did in RM Williams.
‘We thought long and hard about selling the business after five generations of family ownership,’ Mr Keir said.
‘After we saw how the Forrests have invested in local manufacturing with RM Williams, we decides they were the right custodians for Akubra.’