The Most Famous Australian Hat
Did you know that some popular hats originated from countries that made it their stereotype headgear?
For instance, the Beret originated from France as a stylish hat for the masses since the common
“Kepi” hat was less fashionable and was more commonly worn by the French Foreign Legion. From Poland, the Rogatywka (roga-tifka) military cap was widely copied by military and police officers all over the world, and eventually became the basic headgear of uniformed police in the United States.
The popular “Newsboy cap” at the turn of the 20 th century originated from Ireland. It became the standard headgear worn by boys to school, for casual wear, and even with suits, since they were still too young to wear the standard Fedora in the U.S. or the Bowler in England.
The standard winter fur cap with ear protectors originated from Russia as the Ushanka hat. In Russia it is commonly worn as a standard winter wear even with military uniforms or suits. In English “Ushanka” means “ear hat” and was first worn in Russia in the 1600’s.
The Middle Eastern “Fez” is a familiar cylindrical felt hat that originated from Turkey in the 17 th century. It began as a headdress for students of a particular school in the city of Fez and was used by pilgrims going on Hajj by taking the western route. In Turkey as well as in North Africa the Fez symbolized a strong bloodline and a mark of strong intelligence.
In Australia, however, a country that has adopted numerous types of headgear especially from the British Empire, the most famous and iconic hat easily recognizable as “Aussie” is the wide-brimmed felt hat called Slouch hat, Bush hat, or Akubra bush hat after the company that manufactured it for commercial use.
The early slouch hat was first worn by local militia forces in 1885 when the newly created Victorian Mounted Rifles adopted the hat as part of their uniform after its commanding officer, Thomas Price, first wore it. When a separate Australian colonies army was being formed after 1890, the agreement was to use the slouch or bush hat as the standard army headgear along with the Khaki uniform. The bush hat would be looped up on the left side so that rifles could be held at the slope without hitting the brim. By 1903 all Australian military forces wore the bush hat as standard uniform.
Today, the bush hat is worn as a ceremonial headdress only by the Australian army, Royal Australian artillery units, and the Royal Australian Armoured Corps for their ceremonial cavalry and light horse units.
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