Packer Leather: Standing the Test of Time

Packer Leather: Chermside Legacy Stands the Test of Time
Photo Credit: Facebook/Packer Leather Shop

Did you know that the Packer Leather tannery in Narangba has its roots as a wool scouring and fellmongering business in Chermside in the late 19th century?

The Packer family has been in the tanning business since 1891, surviving recessions and near collapse, and continuing to thrive eves as other tanneries have shut down.

Humble Beginnings of Packer Leather

In 1891, Joseph Packer started a wool scouring and fellmongering business in Chermside. The tannery was just a small side business at the time. For decades Packer processed wool and sheepskins at its Chermside factory.

Tough Times and Adapting to Survive 

In the mid-1960s, the wool scouring business fell on hard times as cheaper options became available overseas. The Packers had to shut down that side of the business. Then the patriarch passed away, leaving Lindsay and Graham Packer to take over the family business in their early 20s.

Local Resources

By the 1970s, suburbia was encroaching on the large Chermside property. The Packers fought to get approval to rebuild the tannery in Narangba. Although they faced a backlash, they eventually won a court case and opened the new factory in 1972.

Just as the new factory opened, the fledgling kangaroo leather business was threatened. In 1972, the Whitlam government banned kangaroo exports, stalling growth until the ban was lifted in 1976.

In the 1980s, the Packers increased their kangaroo leather exports. It was during this time that Adidas recognised the benefits of kangaroo leather for sports footwear and started using it for their football boots. This opened up the market, and Packer continued to develop new niche markets for the unique leather.

But a high Australian dollar and the global financial crisis nearly sank the business in 2008. The company was forced to pivot, developing new domestic products and becoming less reliant on exports.

Still Going Strong Today

Packer Leather: Chermside Legacy Stands the Test of Time
Photo Credit: Facebook/Packer Leather Shop

Having survived recessions and near collapse, Packer Leather still operates the Narangba tannery today. It supplies leather to major sporting goods brands and luxury car companies. The company remains family-owned, with Lindsay Packer at the helm at the age of 70.

Although most tanneries closed in the 1970s, the business has remained true to its principles. Through tenacity and innovation, Packer Leather continues to thrive after more than a century.

For more information about Packer Leather and its products, visit the website here.

Published 23 August 2023