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Toowoomba Saddlery’s History

Garth Delbridge left school at the age of 14 to accept a saddlery apprenticeship with a local Toowoomba firm of James Rogers and Sons. After completion of a five-year apprenticeship Garth left the saddlery industry to work as a plant operator with the Main Roads Department and later as a fireman with the Toowoomba fire brigade.

This time away from the industry was not lost as Garth continued saddlery work at home after hours and on weekends until it became obvious to Garth and his wife Sandra that they would have to become involved in the industry on a full time basis.

Toowoomba Saddlery was founded in a small tool shed behind their home in Taylor Street Toowoomba in 1968.

In 1969 the business moved into small commercial premises in Anzac Avenue with a view to increasing their manufacturing output for both the wholesale and retail saddlery markets.

Distributorships & Export Markets

To support the growing business in 1973, Garth actively pursued two directions of growth, distributorships and export markets.

Following a trip to Singapore in 1973 which proved to be very successful, Toowoomba Saddlery’s business had grown to the point where exclusive agents in 4 countries had been appointed and were now actively exporting to 12 countries on a regular basis.

As Toowoomba Saddlery grew it became obvious that because of the vastness and distance needed to be travelled to promote our products, an aircraft was the answer, so in 1979 Toowoomba Saddlery purchased a new Cessna aircraft and Garth then started to learn to fly to obtain his pilots license to enable Toowoomba Saddlery to service the outback. Later this aircraft proved to be too small for the long hauls and a twin engine Beechcraft was purchased. The purchase of an aircraft proved to be an outstanding success in opening markets in remote parts of Australia.

Strong growth

After continued strong growth Toowoomba Saddlery’s need for larger premises was never more apparent than in 1977 when a new 430 square metre warehouse and factory complex was built in Hill Street Toowoomba, Then in 1991 saw the need for these premises to expand again to 700 square metres and by 1994 after another period of rapid growth our present 1500 square metre office and warehouse complex was purchased at 266-268 McDougall St Toowoomba. Then in 2008 Saw the addition of a 600 square metre mezzanine floor at their Toowoomba warehouse for increased storage area.

The quest for new products and continuity of supply of established products in the early 1990’s saw Toowoomba Saddlery move into the direct importing of saddlery hardware and saddlery manufacturing products predominantly from South East Asia. Leather is also imported from the USA, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom.

Hermann Oak Leather Company of St. Louis in USA has appointed Toowoomba Saddlery as their sole distributor for Australia and New Zealand for their very high quality skirting, tooling, latigo and bridle leathers.

Today Toowoomba Saddlery is one of the largest manufactures of Australian Made saddles and leather strapping supplying over 1200 stores throughout Australia. We carry one of the largest range of saddlery hardware and saddlery leather in Australia with an annual multi-million dollar turnover.

Ongoing development

The success of Toowoomba Saddlery is in no small part due to the progressive attitude, experience and loyalty of the management and staff. This experience is invaluable to the ongoing development of new products and the continuing high standard of products manufactured on a daily basis. Toowoomba Saddlery is now in its 49th year of business.

The Company is solely owned and operated by the Delbridge Family with Garth & Sandra’s son Robert being appointed as the Managing Director of the Company. Robert completed his apprenticeship as a motor mechanic with the local Ford dealership, then joined Toowoomba Saddlery in 1990 and completed a 4 year apprenticeship as a riding saddle maker and has been with the company ever since.

The increasing need for travel to remote locations has seen Robert obtain his pilot’s license to enable him to service customers in remote areas of Australia.

Toowoomba Saddlery has distributors of their quality products as far out as Alice Springs, Katherine, Kununurra, Derby and Broome.