Made popular when Prince Albert started wearing them in 1850, top hats developed from a fashion into a symbol of urban respectability. This hat box bearing the name of Tasmanian retailer Templeman & O'Brien contained a Wellington style top hat with concave sides.
SignificanceAcutely conscious that the state was regarded as a settlement for convicts throughout the first half of the 19th century, in the second half of that century Tasmanian society attempted to distance itself from its convict past. This is most obvious in the 1856 change of name from Van Diemen's Land to Tasmania, however, the process is further evidenced in the adoption of accoutrements directly associated with genteel, civilized society, such as this fine silk hat manufactured by one of London's most prestigious firms.
HistoryHat makers Christy's was founded by Miller Christy in London in 1773 and continues to the present day, producing high quality hats. The Tasmanian retailer Templeman & O'Brien sold fine clothes from their Hobart store at 66 Liverpool Street in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.