Who is Paddy Pallin?

Paddy Pallin
The name Paddy Pallin certainly means many things to many people. For some it brings to mind the genial personality of one of Australia’s pioneer bushwalkers. Others will recognise the name from the label of a sleeping bag or rucksack that has given a generation of faithful service in the great outdoors. Or perhaps it brings to mind the colourful history of Australia’s greatest cross-country ski race. For most people however, the name is associated with a group of specialist retail stores catering for travellers and outdoor enthusiasts.

Brief History

Frank Austin (Paddy) Pallin was born in 1900 in Hartlepool UK. He grew up with a love of wandering the nearby hills with his brothers and friends. When he started work as an insurance average adjustor he was moved to London where he met his life long companion, May.

Paddy could not stand the restrictions of working in London, but escaped regularly by getting involved in the fledgling scouting movement. He ended up leading groups of London kids on trips to the moors and to Denmark. Eventually in 1926 he worked his way out to Australia bringing a group of Dreadnought Boys. Before federation of the Australian states, Britain had promised New South Wales a Dreadnought destroyer to protect the NSW waters. After federation and when the new Federal Government took control of defence the promise was changed to paying for the passage of boys who wanted to work on the land in Australia. These were known as Dreadnought Boys!

After unsuccessfully share-farming and fencing in the Hunter Valley of NSW, Paddy returned to the insurance industry as an average adjustor. May joined him in 1929 and they married and built a house.

In 1930 with a new wife and a mortgage the Depression struck and Paddy was out of work. Dissatisfied with the quality and availability of current bushwalking equipment he set out to design and make his own and sell to those who were still in work or had money. Before long, word spread, and Paddy Pallin’s lightweight, functional designs were soon in demand among fellow bushwalkers. Such was the demand for his specialist equipment (mainly rucksacks, tents and sleeping bags) he opened his first store in Sydney in the early 1930s. In order to cater for the total Australian market and the growing demand for his products, he appointed an agent in each state and offered a mail-order service.

The backpacking travel boom in the 1960s created an entirely new market, which dwarfed the early Australian wilderness travel market. Paddy’s had to respond by opening more stores to meet this demand. From its early days the company has concentrated on supplying bushwalkers, travellers and skiers with the highest quality and most advanced products, not only from the Pallin clothing and Paddy Pallin equipment labels, but also by sourcing a broad range of equipment from some of the world’s leading manufacturers.

In the mid 1980s Paddy Pallin broadened this choice by launching a line of Adventure Travel Clothing. This was the first time a range of durable, reliable, lightweight, easy-care, specialist clothing was offered to the Australian market. This evolving product range continues to set the market standard.

Paddy Pallin and the Paddy Pallin Foundation Today

Since its inception, the name of Paddy Pallin became synonymous with the Australian bush, and the company he founded has grown to become Australia’s leading supplier of specialist outdoor and travel gear. The company now has stores throughout Australia.

Paddy Pallin has a mail-order and online division to provide additional service to the Australian market. The company also has a specialised division, Adventure Equipment, which supplies the defence forces, emergency services, schools, and other institutions.

Still owned by the Pallin family, the company continues its tradition of designing and sourcing technical adventure clothing and equipment for the Australian market. This has enabled the combining of cutting edge technology with the wisdom gleaned from many years of experience.

Our tradition of innovation sets us apart from all others in our field. Paddy Pallin was the first to provide functional, high quality equipment for the outdoors in the 1930s and his company continues to be the market leader today.

The Trustee is Paddy Pallin Foundation Pty Ltd, a company established solely for that purpose whose directors are Rob Pallin, Donald White and Bruce Donald.

The Trust Purposes to protect and enhance the Australian environment are set out at The Trust Deed page of this website.

“In the bush, the problems of life are no longer complex” Paddy Pallin 1900-1991

The Paddy Pallin Foundation

Paddy Pallin decided in the 1970s to help the environment and to promote the “Rucksack Sports” by setting up the Paddy Pallin Foundation. This was not formally constituted but simply a means of giving funds to suitable causes.

For instance the Paddy Pallin Foundation contributed to the Franklin River fight and in 1986 gave funds to The Wilderness Society (Tasmania) to promote the Tasmanian forests under threat. And also to The Wilderness Society (NSW) to help in the fight for the Eden forests. Have things changed?

The Pallin family decided to set up the Paddy Pallin Foundation in a more formal way and this was finally achieved on 19th September 2007. The Paddy Pallin Foundation is now able to accept tax deductible donations from the public.

The initial aim is for the Paddy Pallin companies to contribute to a corpus so that the foundation eventually becomes self funding. Any contributions from the public, however, will be passed through to the recipient organisation without any administration fees, unless specifically requested otherwise.