NEW YORK — Sir William Gunn, an Australian sheep farmer who created the Woolmark symbol, died on April 17 in Brisbane, Australia. He was 89.
This story first appeared in the May 6, 2003 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
As chairman of the Australian Wool Bureau from 1958 until he retired in 1972, Gunn was responsible for the wool boom in his country. Knighted in 1961 for his services to the industry, he was instrumental in the development of the first modern techniques for wool promotion in Australia, revolutionizing the presentation of wool products to consumers. The Woolmark symbol, which was first introduced in 1964, was used to advertise both all-wool and wool-blend products.
In 1970, Gunn spurred the wool boom in Australia by allowing all sheep farmers to set a minimum in wool prices, a controversial act at the time. This system was overseen by the government-funded Australian Wool Corp. until it was dropped in 1991 when the industry was left with debt and a large amount of unsold wool.
Born in Goondiwindi, an affluent town located 200 miles from Brisbane, Gunn left boarding school in his teens to help run his family’s 2,800-acre property, a grazing area for more than 4,000 sheep.
He is survived by his son, Bill, a daughter, Mary, and several grandchildren.