Akubra First World War Light Horse Slouch Hat

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This hat is a reproduction of those worn by some Australian Light Horse regiments during the First World War. The 100% fur felt Akubra slouch hat is fitted with a reproduction First/Second World War Commonwealth Pattern hat badge, an adjustable leather chin strap, reproduction wool hat band, and emu plume.

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At the outbreak of the First World War the Australian Imperial Force were provided slouch hats with a plain khaki wool hat band, and a Commonwealth Pattern ('rising sun') badge. Members of Queensland Light Horse regiments, against orders, began wearing an emu plume, a distinction which had been granted to Queensland (as well as South Australian and Tasmanian) mounted units prior to 1912. After persistant lobbying, the distinction was granted to all Queensland Light Horse regiments and announced by Prime Minister Fisher to the 'deafening cheers' of a pre-embarkation contingent at Melbourne's Flemington Show Grounds.

The emu plume had first been worn by members of the Queensland Mounted Infantry during the Great Shearer's Strike of 1891. Sir David Fairbairn grandson of George Fairbairn, owner of Peak Downs, recorded that a detachment of Mounted Infantry troopers guarding a gang of ‘non-union’ shearers rode down to the creek one day when things were quiet and shot an emu. Each took a handful of feathers and placed them in the band of his hat. By 1897 emu plumes were being worn by all Queensland mounted units.

The arrival of the 3rd Light Horse Regiment in Egypt wearing plumes, caused great consternation among Queensland light horse regiments, who believed the distinction was theirs alone. Eventually the Minister of Defence intervened, ruling that all light horse regiments could wear the distinction. Despite this, many light horse regiments refused to wear the plume, believing it to be a Queensland distinction. Colonel H. C. Chauvel, commanding officer of the 1st Australian Light Horse Brigade, wrote of his "very strong feeling" in support of the Queensland Regiment's sole right to the plume. The commanding officer of the 7th Regiment (NSW) not only supported the Queenslanders' claim, but also expressed his preference for "the ordinary (hat) band", describing the emu plume as "an unnecessary and useless item".

These hats are an exacting reproduction of the slouch hat worn by some regiments of the Australian Light Horse during the First World War. The 100% fur felt hat is made by Akubra, a company that has supplied, and continues to supply, hats to the Australian Army since the early 20th century. To these hats are attached a reproduction of the Commonwealth Pattern badge, khaki wool hat band, adjustable leather chin strap, and emu plume.


100% fur felt slouch hat made in Australia by Akubra Hats.
Reproduction blackened Commonwealth Pattern badge.
Khaki wool hat band.
Adjustable leather chin strap.
Emu plume.