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  • Your Hunter Valley Magazine

The BIG UGG in the Hunter Valley!

Mortels Sheepskin Factory is a multi-award winning Australian-owned family business, and it's just up the road from Wine Country.

Mortels story began with Frank Mortel (master shoe craftsman) and wife Rita emigrating from the Netherlands in 1956 bringing with them the trade of shoe crafting, a trade that was passed down through the Mortel family for over 150 years.

Mortels Shoes commenced in Sydney that year, and in 1958, they began making ugg boots to add to their range of quality footwear.

The Mortel family relocated from Sydney to the Maitland area in 1978 and from a shed in Lochinvar, the family continued developing their range of sheepskin products and growing their brand. In 1992, Tony Mortel and wife Stephanie took over the reins of the business.

With nearly 60 years of experience, Mortels have played a leading role in the evolution and direction of the Australian sheepskin industry. Mortels have driven improvements in the industry – from the quality of raw materials and the way they are processed – to developments in the manufacturing process, standards and designs.

Proudly Aussie owned and dedicated to manufacturing a premium quality sheepskin product, Mortels are of the oldest, continuously running ugg boot manufacturers in the world.

Weekly, the Mortel factory workers, create upwards of 1000 pairs of ugg boots in all styles and colours. Mortels source their sheepskins from a Tamworth based abattoir and have them tanned to their meticulous standards before being handcrafted at Thornton into a Mortel product.

“What sets us apart for all other manufacturers of sheepskin products is all our sheepskin batches are tested and certified for chemicals and dyes in strict accordance with European Safety standards,” explained Stephanie Mortel.

“Domestic and imported sheepskins and textiles are not subject to any custom requirements of meeting safety standards and the chemicals and dyes used in fabrics can cause cancer, chronic fatigue, asthma, skin conditions, allergies and many other diseases. We choose to test and certify as a measure of consideration for the health and wellbeing of customers and staff”.

Purchasers will know they have purchased a genuine Mortel product as Mortels only distribute within Australia through their own retail outlets to preserve their brand and the quality of Australian manufacturing.

Mortels have also expanded their range of Australiana products. On offer is a range of country clothing including Australian made leather hats, oilskin coats, vests, hats, and quality accessories and Mortels own range of skin care products, which are created right here in the Hunter using natural lanolin as the main ingredient.

The range also includes furnishings such as small and large ottomans and pillows covered in genuine cowhides to compliment Mortels large range.

There is no doubting the Mortels commitment to their business and the sheepskin industry as a whole. Mortels Thornton manufacturing site also houses a large factory outlet store, a museum showcasing Australia’s rich sheepskin history and Mortels 60 years of manufacturing and a café serving all day breakfast, great coffee and lunches.

Staff conduct daily (Monday-Friday) factory tours at 11 am where visitors can watch, hear, feel and smell the real workings of an UGG boot factory. And of course – don’t forget it’s also the home of “The Big Ugg Boot!”

They also offer a large range of their products through their website, direct sales to local, national and international customers.

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