What to Bring
Conical hat, cane and palm fibre, Chinese, Central Victoria, circa 1860. Image by Taryn Ellis.Contributors
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Clothing: a conical hat. This hat, together with a basket and cape was brought from China to Victoria.
It was kept and handed down by a family who occupied the same property for four generations at Smeaton, Victoria.
The palm fibre hat is constructed from the matted and fibrous palm sheaths of the Chinese windmill palm (Trachycarpus fortunei). Although found throughout Asia and the tropics, the palm fibre cape has been specifically attributed to the rural areas of the Guangdong province in Southern China. Worn by both men and women, conical hats were a common sight in gold mining communities. Chinese people in drawings, paintings and photographs of Victoria in the 1850s are frequently depicted wearing conical hats.
This hat probably arrived in Australia from China around 1860.
Smeaton, in central Victoria, was at the centre of several Chinese encampments.
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