Welcome to the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party: Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge

© irene waters 2014

Welcome to the Mad Hatter’s Tea party taken in the Nursery rhyme section of the Hunter Valley Gardens. Whilst the Mad Hatter accepted any type of hat in Australia there is only one hat that really matters. The hat the bushies wear – a hat made from rabbit pelts – the Akubra. It used to only be seen on cow cockies (farmers) but now it has become the Aussie icon hat to wear. Females wear them.

© irene waters 2020

The first akubra was made in Tasmania in 1874 by Benjamin Dunkerley who had recently arrived from England and started a hat making business.

© irene waters 2020

Dunkerly was not only a hat maker but an inventor and he soon developed a machine that would remove the hair tip from the under fur so that a process that had been done by hand was revolutionised and the felt produced with speed.

© irene waters 2020

The business flourished and moved to Surrey Hills in Sydney and then needed bigger premises and moved to Waterloo. It hit the jackpot during the war when it was commissioned to make slouch hats for our servicemen.

The company continued with Crocodile Dundee and the White Shark adding to those wanting an akubra hat so that now the Akubra is known and sold around the world In 1988 the factory moved from Sydney to Kempsey in the north of NSW.

© irene waters 2020

These days 70% of Akubra hats are purchased by the rural sector and the remainder by all those that want an iconic Australian hat. Not much to do with the mad hatters tea party but I like that photo.

© irene waters 2020

And when the hat has seen better days it can’t be thrown. They become like old friends and then are used as farm shed decoration.

This week Cee wants to see our Hats. Thanks for hosting the challenge

About Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

I began my working career as a reluctant potato peeler whilst waiting to commence my training as a student nurse. On completion I worked mainly in intensive care/coronary care; finishing my hospital career as clinical nurse educator in intensive care. A life changing period as a resort owner/manager on the island of Tanna in Vanuatu was followed by recovery time as a farmer at Bucca Wauka. Having discovered I was no farmer and vowing never again to own an animal bigger than myself I took on the Barrington General Store. Here we also ran a five star restaurant. Working the shop of a day 7am - 6pm followed by the restaurant until late was surprisingly more stressful than Tanna. On the sale we decided to retire and renovate our house with the help of a builder friend. Now believing we knew everything about building we set to constructing our own house. Just finished a coal mine decided to set up in our backyard. Definitely time to retire we moved to Queensland. I had been writing a manuscript for some time. In the desire to complete this I enrolled in a post grad certificate in creative Industries which I completed 2013. I followed this by doing a Master of Arts by research graduating in 2017. Now I live to write and write to live.
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10 Responses to Welcome to the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party: Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge

  1. Cee Neuner says:

    Your first photo was fun and I absolutely adored your last photo. The rest were all just super cool 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  2. They must be very soft. And they’re certainly beautiful.


  3. Thank you for explaining the Akubra. It was mentioned on another post and I missed the significance there.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This is so interesting, Irene. I have been research traditional Boer hats for my new novel. The South African hats look fairly similar to these Aussie hats.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. noelleg44 says:

    Didn’t we see a hat like that on Crocodile Dundee?

    Liked by 1 person

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