Our Story
Australian Defence Apparel

Our Story

In Retrospect

Established as the Commonwealth Government Clothing Factory in response to the growing demand for uniforms and apparel during World War 1, we are Australian Defence Apparel (ADA) today.

We now support the ADF through manufacturing combat uniforms, specialised combat apparel, non-combat clothing, combat undergarments, body armour and wet weather apparel and equipment. We have expanded to supply and support multiple industries, including law enforcement, emergency services and healthcare.

The majority of our products are manufactured on-site and within Australian borders. While supporting the ADF, and more recently defence forces in New Zealand, we maintain local manufacturing principles and supply employment for hundreds of Australians.

Historically our garments have supported Australian troops across multiple conflicts and humanitarian efforts. The innovations and garments we create have been instrumental in assisting with building the visual symbol of the Australian “digger”, the iconic military symbol of Australia’s strength, resilience and reliability.

Our growth through history, and the reliability we have maintained during that growth, have positioned us to grow our sovereign capability and continue to supply Australian industries with quality apparel made onshore through sustainable and supportive manufacturing processes.


The Commonwealth Government Clothing Factory

With Australia joining the conflicts of World War I, there was a growing need for consistent, uniform manufacturing for the defence forces. This need was met by the Commonwealth Government Clothing Factory, which would later become ADA. Over the years, ADA has become one of the leading suppliers of uniforms and clothing across multiple industries, continuing the legacy of its early beginnings.


An Increased Demand

With World War II ongoing, nearly 1 million Australian soldiers served in the conflicts. With such a high demand for quality uniforms to support personnel, the Commonwealth Government Clothing Factory grew in size and employed over 1000 Australians at the time.


Service throughout History

The Commonwealth Government Clothing Factory continued to supply uniforms and equipment to Australian troops engaged in conflicts worldwide. Throughout the 1950s and 60s, our uniforms were worn throughout conflicts across Korea and Vietnam.


We're Here to Stay

While the Commonwealth Government Clothing Factory would eventually become ADA as we know it today, it has undergone many other changes. Establishing a purpose-built manufacturing plant in Coburg, Victoria, cemented how integral our designs, manufacturing and supply chains were to Australia's defence forces. With dedicated space to work, we could grow our reliability and continue to serve the military, healthcare and government service industries.


Innovation was Key

As we have grown through history, we have cemented our place as the leading supplier of uniforms and equipment by innovating what forms those items could take. 1986 saw us introduce the Disruptive Pattern Camouflage Uniform. This advancement in military apparel would become standard issue across our defence forces. Establishing new levels of excellence to be adopted by the industries we serve has remained an integral part of our journey to this day.


New Locations and New Titles

After moving to a newer and larger manufacturing facility in Bendigo, it was time for privatisation. A previous management transfer had moved The Commonwealth Government Clothing Factory into the Clothing Division of Australian Defence Industries (ADI). It was now time for our team in Bendigo and around the country to operate under a new banner. Stepping away from direct government control, we became Australian Defence Apparel (ADA), and have continued to operate as ADA ever since.


Continuing Innovation

Throughout the 2000s, we have continued to innovate new apparel options for multiple industries. In 2001 we expanded our Disruptive Pattern options with the Disruptive Pattern Desert Uniform, and in 2007 we began to supply our Modular Combat Body Armour System to troops in Iraq.



In 2016, we acquired LEGEAR, a leading supplier of law enforcement, military, and general public safety products, allowing us to grow our capabilities. Now, LEGEAR provides our clients access to global tactical brands, exclusive products and top-of-the-line equipment. We aim to be #1 destination for all our clients' contract needs continuing to secure our place as the in-demand supplier for military, healthcare and emergency services.


Securing Our Position

In 2021, we were thrilled to secure an ongoing contract for the supply and management of wearables to the New Zealand Defence Force. This new partnership is a valuable addition to the portfolio of partnerships we have built both here in Australia and abroad. As leaders in our industry, we relish the opportunity to grow and innovate, further expanding our presence as a globally renowned supplier.

At ADA, we always look for new opportunities to innovate in the apparel industry. Our dedication to innovation has ensured that our products remain at the forefront of technology and design, enabling us to push the boundaries of what is possible in the apparel world.


Products delivered


Products made locally


Research & development

Get to know the faces behind ADA

Chris Dixon


Edward Holbrook


Melinda Suares

Design and Product Development Manager

Narelle Dimopoulos

Governance & Risk Manager

David Frith

Australian Industry Capability

Mitch Edward

General Manager - Sales & Contract Management

Tibor De Tassanyi

Program Director Defence & Law Enforcement

Janine Costa

Research & Development Manager

Bevan Williams

Capability Innovations Efficiency Manager

Jason Semple

LEGEAR General Manager

Sarah Pender

Director - ADA New Zealand (ADANZ)