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Victorian Naval Brigade Bicorn hat

Date: c 1899
Dimensions:
Overall: 145 x 435 x 165 mm, 0.3 kg
Medium: Cork, animal fur(?), leather, silk cotton, gilt wire
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Hat
Object No: 00018991
Place Manufactured:England

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    Description
    This is a two cornered naval officers hat featuring a cork structure overlaid with felt.
    The rounded crown is hidden by 2 walls of double fur and on the side of the hat is a gilt button of the Victorian Royal Naval Brigade dating from around 1899. The button features a crown and anchor. The interior of the hat is lined with leather, silk and cotton with the gilt inscription `Made in England for A. Bowley & Co. 588, Collins Street Melbourne'.
    SignificanceThis hat is representative of the Victorian Naval Brigade which along with the permanent force known as the Victorian Navy, formed the Victorion Naval Forces. This Victorian force became the dominant navy in Australia prior to Federation in 1901 and until 1907 when it is was disbanded and and the Commonwealth Naval Militia was formed.
    HistoryThe Victorian Naval Brigade was first formed in 1859 and featured a large number of ex-Royal Navy men. Service in the brigade was part time and unpaid. recruits were trained in infantry and artillery drill, both ashore and aboard ship. The brigade supplemented the small permanent Victorian navy and was divided into two divisions : Williamstown and Sandridge (Port Melbourne).
    Supporting the Victorian Naval Forces were the fortifications located at the entrance to Port Phillip Bay and other sites around the bay. In the years leading up to Federation the Victorian Naval Forces were considered the most powerful of all the colonial naval forces.
    The Australian colonies maintained control over their respective navies until 1 March 1901, when the Commonwealth Naval Force was created.

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