The word “billabong” sounds very silly – it sounds like some nonsense word that a child might make up. However, its a real word, and it has several meanings. The word “billabong” originally comes from Australian English. It is a word that refers to a small oxbow lake, a type of lake that is located next to a river. A billabong was originally part of the river but, due to the river changing course, was cut off. This leaves the branch without a connection to the moving water, turning it into a lake. Billabongs have appeared in a number of different pieces of Australian literature and other works. One of the most famous uses of the word is in the folk song “Waltzing Matilda.”
However, many people have heard the word Billabong as a brand name. Billabong is a public company which has above 4500 employees worldwide, Billabong also appears on the Australian Securities Exchange. They are primarily a clothing brand, although they have purchased a number of other companies that make other products. The company was been public since August of 2000, although it was founded back in 1973. The company was originally headed by Rena and Gordon Merchant, the founders, who started Billabong in Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia. Today, Billabong is headquartered in Burleigh Heads, Queensland.
Billabong owns a number of companies. They include the following, all of which operate under their own brand name:
Nixon Watches, which was acquired in January of 2006. They sell high quality watches, clothing, and other products.
Von Zipper, a company that specializes in goggles and sunglasses. These products are mainly for the surfing industry. Von Zipper was added to Billabongs holdings in 2001. Kustom footwear was added in 2004.
Likewise, Palmers Surf was acquired in 2004. They create many different products related to the surfing industry, including hardware and surfboard wax. In July of 2002, Billabong purchased Element. Element is one of the top companies in the skateboarding apparel market.
In June of 2008, Billabong added the retail chain Quiet Flight Surf Shop to their list of holdings. That same month, they also purchased DaKine, a company that produces luggage, backpacks, and accessories for extreme sports. They also added the skateboard manufacturer Sector 9 to their holdings in June of 2008.
In September of 2007, Billabong purchased Xcel. Xcel is one of the top U.S. manufacturers of wetsuits and water sport accessories. They actually produce some diving equipment for military use in addition to their recreational products.
In 2008, Billabong merged with Surf Warehouse and DUBii Apparel, adding to their holdings and making them an even larger conglomerate. With all of the many different products they and their child companies produce, its no wonder that Billabong is hardly ever used to refer to a small lake outside of Australia. Even there, the word is becoming more and more synonymous with the company and not with the body of water.