Keeping us snugg in winter

They’re huge in winter and Mortels at Thornton is home to the largest pair in the world. UGGS. These sheepskin boots with a sturdy sole have become a cold weather staple in the wardrobes of everyone from surfers to celebrities.

Mortels Sheepskin Factory on the outskirts of Maitland is one of the oldest, continuously running and most experienced UGG boot manufacturers in the world. Started in Sydney by master shoe craftsman, Frank Mortel in 1958, the business was relocated to the Hunter region in 1978. More than 65 years after it began, this Australian owned, family business continues to manufacture its products locally. Mortels sheepskins are sourced from Australian grown sheep in New South Wales and Victoria, and are then tanned to their meticulous standards before being handcrafted into a Mortel product.

“We uphold a very high standard in the sheepskin products that we use, I’ve felt the skins as they go through the click and press and sometimes we might only use a certain part of the sheepskin because quality is such an important part of what we do”, says Daniel Mortel, one of the third generation of Mortels now working in the family business.

While UGG boots are what Mortels is known for – it’s not the only iconic product produced. The classic sheepskin bomber jacket is an homage to the “Diggers Vest” which was made for Aussie soldiers serving in WWI during a freezing European winter – and it led to the sentiment that “Australia rode on the sheep’s back”.

If you want to know more about the fascinating history of sheepskin and find out if UGGS were really named because they were ‘ugly’ then you can visit ‘The Sheep’s Back Museum’ located within Mortels purpose built shearing shed style premises. In addition to visiting the museum, you can also take a tour of Mortels fully operational manufacturing plant and see exactly how the products are made. Follow it all up with a snack in the on-site cafe and don’t forget to grab your selfie with the “Big UGGs” while you’re there.

Mortels Sheepskin Factory is open 7 days a week (except public holidays) and Factory Tours are held Monday’s, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 11am.

Find more like this in the Autumn Edition of Hunter & Coastal Lifestyle Magazine or subscribe here.