After 30 years, Tambo Teddies are going stronger than ever, partly because of a Queensland refugee community.

Story Kirsty McKenzie   Photo courtesy Tambo Teddies

There’s a low-level clatter in the background at the Tambo Teddies Toowoomba workshop and showroom as 4 people have their pedals to the metal sewing together the 19 components that go into each Toby and Basil bear, the Queensland brand’s bestselling soft toys.

For Khalil Rash, this kind of work is second nature because he worked as a tailor in his home country of Syria before the horrors of religious persecution forced him and his family to flee to Australia as refugees in 2017. Today Khalil is working on the prototype for the new limited-edition, jointed Banjo bear that’s being created to commemorate Tambo Teddies’ 30th anniversary.

This story excerpt is from Issue #149

Outback Magazine: June/July 2023