Driza-Bone, originating from the phrase "dry as a bone", is a trade name for the company making full-length waterproof riding coats and apparel. The company was established in 1898 and is currently Australian owned and manufactures its products in Australia. The trademark of Driza-Bone was first registered in 1933.
This style of coat originated in Australia as workwear for stockmen. The coats were developed to protect horse riders from the rain and feature straps that hold the coat to the rider's leg.
In the late 1800s, a Scot
named Edward Le Roy
emigrated to Australia. He was able to manufacture oilskin
rainwear for use of sailors
on sailing ships in the local waters at the time. The garments were originally constructed from the lightweight sails of the sailing ships. The waterproofing of the clothing was by application of linseed oil
to the cotton
. Stockmen at the time had gathered news of this garment from sailors who had subsequently left sailing to work on the land.
Over time, changes were made to the original design in the order of:
- longer coat for horse riding
- fantail in the back of the coat to cover the saddle
- wrist straps to secure the sleeves and stop the arms from getting cold
- leg straps to stop the coat from flapping around
As time went by, the linseed oil (while proving satisfactory for waterproofing) went hard and cracked in the hot summers. Le Roy and T.E. Pearson (of Pearson's Sandsoap fame) came up with a new proofing technique. This new proofing technique has remained unchanged to present day.
2000 Olympic Games
Driza-Bone riding coats were worn by the stockmen and stockwomen at the Opening Ceremony of the 2000 Summer Olympics
. Also, the 2000 Olympic Band
members wore Driza-Bone coats especially made for them as band musicians, in which the sleeves were made completely differently to the sleeves of the traditional Driza-Bone riding coats worn by the riders. The red, white and blue colours of the Driza-Bone coats for the band members were also different from the usual colour of the Driza-Bone coats. Also, all the medal presenters during the 2000 Summer Olympic Games wore Driza-Bone coats.
Driza-Bone coats were also worn by the cast members of the 2002
theatre musical "The Man from Snowy River: Arena Spectacular
". These were designed by the bush/rural clothing enthusiast and designer, Robert Peron
, who is a major figure in attempting to have the Driza-Bone accepted as a true fashion item far beyond its status as an Australian
icon — Driza-Bones not having entered the fashion lexicon as yet.
APEC Australia 2007
Driza-Bone coats have recently made an appearance at the 2007 APEC Summit
in Sydney. The 21 attendees posed in the group photo wearing Driza-Bone attire. According to an official statement, Mr Howard selected Driza-Bone as the national outfit "with counsel and good advice" from his wife, Janette, and the APEC taskforce.