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National Museum of Australia

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Collection Explorer


Soft black felt riding hat


Soft black felt riding hat

Object information

Physical description

A soft black felt riding hat. The top of the crown is indented and the brim is stitched around its circumference and slightly turned up, especially at the rear. The hat features black tape trim around the circumference of the crown meeting in a rough bow on the right hand side of the hat when worn. The same type of black fabric tape lines the inside of the hat around the circumference of the crown. This tape has been discoloured at the front of the hat where the riders forehead would have come in contact with the fabric. On this tape an almost indistinguishable manufacturers mark "Scotts" appears, the text beneath is too faded to read. At the inside rear of the hat is a small light coloured silky bow. A length of thin black cord elastic is attached to the inside of the hat, its position closer to the rear of the hat than the front suggests that the elastic held the hat on from behind, under the hair, rather than sitting under the chin.

Statement of significance

The collection consists of documents, photographs, scrapbooks, clothing and other memorabilia from the careers and personal lives of Emma (Emilie) Roach, a well-known and successful equestrian, and her husband John (Jack) Burton, who made several record-breaking drives in motor vehicles across Australia during the 1910s and 1920s.

Born in Narrandera, New South Wales, in 1898, Roach began equestrian competition at the age of 10, and continued through most levels and types of competition, remaining an unpaid amatuer, until her retirement in 1955. Her main competitions and successes were in the show-ring. After Burton and Roach married in 1925, they lived in Sydney for many years and travelled from there to agricultural shows in New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland where Roach would compete and Burton worked in motor vehicle sales and writing articles for motoring magazines.

Object information

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