Menu toggle

National Museum of Australia

Where our stories come alive

Collection Explorer


Black velvet horse riding helmet


Black velvet horse riding helmet

Object information

Physical description

A black velvet horse riding helmet. The hard helmet features finely stitched black velvet around its crown and a small visor, as well as a small velvet dome shape atop of the crown. At the back of the helmet is a small black fabric tape bow. The inside of the helmet is lined with a silky bronze coloured fabric which is slightly discoloured and worn around the forehead area. The fabric features reinforced stitching and a separate skirt of fabric around the inside perimeter of the helmet. This separate area of fabric has been lightly padded with a white fabric which bears a bright pink hand-written number "19658" at the back of the helmet. The inner edge of this material also features a black drawstring tape possibly used to tighten the fit of the helmet around the wearers head. Stitched to the centre of the crown, on the interior of the helmet is a small synthetic white coloured manufacturers label with red text "MADE IN ENGLAND / PROTECTIVE / Cromwel l / HEADWEAR". A small circular adhesive paper sticker is also attached to the interior of the helmet, the white label with blue text indicates the size of the helmet "196 5/8 / 54'".

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

Back to top