Berlei is a
brandof women's lingerieand in particular bras and girdles [Anon3] . The brand originated in Australiain 1917 [Clune, 1961, p. 438] [Australian trademark #21931] . Berlei undergarments are now sold in Australia by Pacific Brandsand in the United Kingdomby Courtaulds Textiles.
The name came from that of the firm's founder, Frederick R. Burley, who felt that his name as normally spelled was not appropriate to his products.
Berlei Limited was one of the first Australian companies to expand outside Australia [Clune, p. 439] . Berlei (
New Zealand) Limited was incorporated in 1923 and Berlei (U.K.) Limited was organised in 1930.
Frederick R. Burley (
May 29, 1885, Hamilton, Victoria- May 26, 1954, Wahroonga, New South Wales) was the founder of Berlei.
Burley was a pioneer in employee relations and an accomplished public citizen, holding office in the Rotary Club and contributing to other worthy organizations.
In 1923 he founded the
Australian Made Preference Leagueand served as the first president of the League. The League created the Great White Trainas a promotional tool for early Australian industries. [Anon1]
The movie Undercover was made about the early years of the Berlei company and the life of Frederick R Burley. [Quinlivan, B.]
Frederick R. Burley was also related to the founder of the Burley Football company,
Joseph Leonard Burley.
History of Berlei Limited and associated companies
Berlei Limited was started (in 1910) as a company called Unique Corsets in Sydney, Australia after Fred Burley discovered that the corset business was profitable and that the wholesale segment of the business could be prosecuted on an import replacement basis. Fred made his first overseas business trip to the US in 1913 to learn methods and machines of the time. The brand name of Berlei was coined soon after and was registered in Australia in 1917. United Corsets became Berlei Limited in 1920.
The original factory was in Wilmot Street, Sydney with additional space being used in Liverpool Street.
In January 1922, the factory was moved to Berlei House in Regent Street. [Clune, 1961] .
Fred Burley's vision for the company was "To Design and Manufacture Corsets and Brassieres of such perfect Fit, Quality, and Workmanship, as will bring pleasure and profit to all concerned, while at the same time rendering such excellant service to our Clients and Consumers as will merit their permanent patronage".
Berlei's approach to marketing was professional. [Maynard]
Berlei (NZ) Limited
Berlei (New Zealand) Limited was started in 1923 with a staff of fifty growing to 665 employees in 1961 [Clune, P 438] .
Bendon Berlei Limited merged with Ceramco Apparel Group Limited on April 8, 1981.
Berlei (UK) Limited
A branch of the Australian company was opened in the United Kingdom in 1930 with staff of forty the company grew to a staff of 702 in 1961 [Clune, P 439] .
Berlei (UK) was purchased from Berlei Hestia of Australia in 1982 [Warner] .
Berlei (UK) called in a receiver in November 1985 [Warner] , subsequently it was purchased by Courtaulds Textiles.
In March 2000, Courtaulds Textiles was sold to Sara Lee [Anon4] . Sara Lee sold Courtaulds Textiles to Hong Kong based
PD Enterprise Limitedin May 2006 [Klinger, 2006] .
title=The Great White Touring Train visit to Wagga
publisher=Wagga Wagga City Council
title=The History of Berlei Lingerie and its Solution Led Design
publisher=Superbrands Pty Ltd
title=Courtaulds bows to £150m takeover
title=The History of The Berlei Group - The Life of Fred Burley
title=The History of The Berlei Group - Time Line
title=Foundations of femininity: Berlei corsets and the (un)making of the modern body
journal=The Australian Journal of Media & Culture
last = Clune
first = Frank
title = Saga of Sydney
date = 1961
location = Sydney, Australia
pages = 437-440
people = Elfick, David (Producer)
year2 = 1983
title = Undercover
url = http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0086511/
medium = DVD
publisher = Filmco / Palm Beach Pictures
location = Sydney, Australia
title=Beating the bounce
work=The Age, Melbourne
title=Burley, Frederick Richard (1885 - 1954)
work=Australian Dictionary of Biography, Online Edition
publisher=Australian National University
title=Sara Lee offloads Courtaulds division
title=Living dolls: The fashion model in Australia
journal=Journal of Popular Culture
title='Lady be beautiful': selling corsets in the 1920s
journal=Journal of Australian Studies
title=Berlei - Corporate entry
title=Pioneer proved Berlei bras fitted the nation just fine
work=Financial Review (Sydney)
May 7 1982
title=Berlei calls in receiver as bank acts
work=The Times (London)
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