Oilskin History is Australian History

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In the states the fishermen call it a “Slicker”, in England, the Farmers call it a “Barbour”, and they were invented by a Scottish sailor in New Zealand in 1898, but the Oilskin coat as we know it today has its roots firmly planted in the Australian way of life.

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Oilskin

Modern Oilskin Material As We Know It Today Was Invented By Edward Le Roy In 1898

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Edward Le Roy worked on the Windjammer ships that sailed around the world, bringing wool and wheat to Europe and manufactured goods to Australia. He first experimented with making waterproof garments by dressing his sailcloth in a mixture of linseed oil and wax. The resulting wet weather gear quickly became popular among other sailors, and when Le Roy decided to settle into life as a land lubber in New Zealand, he kept strong ties with his Australian business partner, T.E. Pearson, and the pair started producing Oilskin garments from a backyard shed in the Sydney suburb of Manly.

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Demand for the garments as bush wear grew exponentially, and the jacket was adapted to suit the Australian bush lifestyle. The coats were updated for riding, with a fantail added at the back to cover the saddle, along with leg straps to prevent them flapping around in high winds. The stitching was reinforced in vital areas and sleeves were extended to protect the rider's arms. The coats could be rolled up and tied to the saddle if the sun suddenly came out.

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Oilskin

The Classic Australian Stockman Style Jacket - This One Is The Genuine Australian Bushwear Riding Coat

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Pearson and Le Roy settled on the name Driza-Bone and to this day, apart from the formulation of the oil proofing solution improving over the years, the design has barely changed. The jacket became a part of Australian bush culture, synonymous with stockmen and cattle drovers. This iconic Australian image was reinforced by popular films such as The Man from Snowy River. Now, the Aussie Stockman’s jacket has been adapted by many other manufacturers and companies all over Australia. No longer just worn by stockmen, the jacket is embraced by Aussies from all walks of life.

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Genuine Australian Bushwear

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Oilskin

Genuine Australian Bushwear Oilskin Japara

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Genuine Australian Bushwear is our own label, manufacturing traditional outerwear and Oilskin clothing that captures the unique spirit and legacy of Australia. Founded in 1985, we have strived to manufacture affordable quality jackets here in Melbourne. Our products incorporate the latest technology, while maintaining the classic Australian style and comfort our customers have enjoyed for years. We use the highest quality materials and manufacturing processes to make products that will stand the test of time and withstand hugely diverse climates and landscapes.

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oilskin dog coat

Genuine Australian Bushwear Oilskin Dog Coat

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Our Oilskin range includes all the classic pieces Australian’s know and love. From the traditional Stockman style Riding Coat and the Shortcoat, which is a knee length version in the same classic style. Outdoor enthusiasts love our Oilskin vests, available in cotton or wool lined, and our popular Oilskin Japara coat. To complete our range, we have snuggly wool or cotton lined Oilskin dog coats for your furry friends.

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Oilskin

 Genuine Australian Bushwear Cotton Lined Vest

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How To Care For Your Oilskin

Oilskin jackets can last for a lifetime if you look after them properly. Heres a few tips to keep your Oilskin garment looking sharp, no matter the brand or style.

 

  •  Always let your oilskin dry naturally after use.

 

  • Hand wash or soak with cold water only. Do not put your oilskin garment into a washing machine. Do not use detergent. 

 

  • For cleaning, light marks can be sponged with a damp sponge and cold water.

 

  • Mud can be removed by allowing the mud to dry and gently brushing away with a soft brush.

 

  • Oilskin fabric can also be hosed down periodically with cold water, to remove dust.

 

  • Over time the oil and wax coating will slowly evaporate. If you find your oilskin garment is leaking, this is a good sign to apply some garment dressing to re-oil your garment. 

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Oilskin

If Your Oilskin Starts To Leak Its Time To Re-Oil It

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Removing Mould, Washing and Re-Oiling

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If your Oilskin is starting to get smelly, it could be that it is starting to develop a touch of mould. Don’t fret, it can be treated by hanging it up for a couple of weeks in full, hot sunshine. If sunshine is not readily on hand, you can also use a mix of vinegar and water to rid the garment of mould. Mix one part vinegar to two parts of water and spray or sponge on to the mould. More than one application may be needed depending on the extent of the mold. Once you have removed the mould, the coat will need a wash. Here’s how we wash an Oilskin coat:

 

  • add a cap full of a mild liquid detergent suitable for washing woolen clothing to a bathtub or laundry basin of cold water.

 

  • Add the Oilskin garment, agitate for a few moments and then let the coat soak overnight.

 

  • Rinse the coat out in cold water, and hang in a well ventilated, warm area.

 

  • Your oilskin will now need to be re-oiled.

 

If you find your coat is leaking you will need to re-oil it. You can buy re-proofer here.
If you need to re-oil your garment for any reason you will need to wash it first, using the steps above. Once it is dry, choose a hot sunny day to re oil the garment, the warmer the day, the better the results. Here are the steps to re-oil your garment:

 

  • Place the coat in bright sunshine and allow it to heat up.

 

  • Heat the garment dressing until it turns to liquid – this can be done by putting the can of dressing in the sun or a saucepan of hot water.

 

  • At the hottest time of the day, sparingly apply the dressing to the coat, using a clean cloth. Add a little extra dressing to the seams. The sun will spread the dressing evenly and quickly through the coat fabric.

 

  • If you do not have a suitable climate then you will need a hand-held hair drier to work the dressing into the cloth.

 

  • Your coat will now be ready to give you full rain protection.

 

We are always happy to talk Oilskins so if you ever have any questions, please feel free to get in touch with us, either at sales@everythingaustralian.com.au or give us a call on (03) 9553 4067

Oilskin

Genuine Australian Bushwear Wool Lined Vest