Why is the slouch hat turned up?

The intention of turning up the right side of the hat was to ensure it would not be caught during the drill movement of “shoulder arms” from “order arms”. … The slouch hat became a famous symbol of the Australian fighting man during World War One and continued to be worn throughout World War Two.

Slouch Hat.

The slouch hat is an object strongly associated with Australian identity.

The Army refers to the slouch hat by its official designation; Hat khaki fur felt (KFF) – to everyone else it is a ‘Slouch Hat’. 

The word ‘slouch’ refers to the sloping brim. The brim is made from rabbit-fur felt or wool felt and is always worn with a puggaree. 

Corporal Matthew Walshaw from 4th/3rd Royal New South Wales Regiment adjusts his slouch hat before moving off to form up at the Rocks in Sydney, NSW.

History has it that the origins of the Slouch Hat began with the Victorian Mounted Rifles; a hat of similar design had been worn in South Africa by the Cape Mounted Rifles for many years before 1885. The design of the Victorian Mounted Rifle hat originated from headgear of native police in Burma where Lieutenant-Colonel Tom Price had recognised its value. 

The Victorian hat was an ordinary bush felt hat turned up on the right side. The intention of turning up the right side of the hat was to ensure it would not be caught during the drill movement of “shoulder arms” from “order arms”. 

By 1890, State military commandants had agreed that all Australian forces, except the artillery corps, should wear a looped-up hat of uniform pattern that was turned up on the right side in Victoria and Tasmania, and on the left side in all other States to allow for different drill movements. 

The Slouch Hat became standard issue headdress in 1903 and its brim position was mostly standardized then Scottish hat. The slouch hat became a famous symbol of the Australian fighting man during World War One and continued to be worn throughout World War Two. Its use since that time has made it a national symbol.

General Bridges, the first commander of the 1st Australian Imperial Force, was found wearing his slouch hat back to front when he was fatally wounded at Gallipoli. As a mark of respect and remembrance for Bridges, when the slouch hat is worn at Royal Military College – Duntroon, it has become traditional to wear the chin strap buckle on the right side of the face and the brim down. 

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