Submitted by jays on 28 January 2014 - 2:01pm

This silk plush top hat belonged to Robert Taylor (Bob) Thorburn (1847-1934), an entrepreneurial Nowra businessman who in 1885-1886 financed the building of Meroogal, the picturesque timber house in Worrigee Street, Nowra, that was the home of his widowed mother Jessie Catherine Thorburn and his unmarried sisters Belle, Georgie, Kate and Tot. The hat was bought from the Sydney department store David Jones, made by Lincoln Bennett & Co of Sackville Street, Piccadilly, London, a company renowned for covering “more aristocratic crowned heads in their time than any other firm in the world”. It was a hat for special, formal, occasions and may have been bought by Bob Thorburn to wear at his wedding to Jessie Billis in April 1886. As the price marked on the box shows, he paid 25 shillings for the privilege.

Photograph: Alex Kershaw, 2009
Hat & hat box, c1885 Hat & hat box, c1885