Closer look at the fine art of cabbage tree hat making

FUN: Cabbage tree hat making tutor Sue Brian (left) at the workshop in Oberon. Sue, from Gunning, learnt the skill on Norfolk Island.

FUN: Cabbage tree hat making tutor Sue Brian (left) at the workshop in Oberon. Sue, from Gunning, learnt the skill on Norfolk Island.

A TWO-DAY workshop held in Oberon recently outlined the art of the cabbage tree hat.

The cabbage tree hat is the first distinctly Australian headgear to be worn by European settlers seeking protection from the sun.

Traditionally made from the native cabbage tree palm (Livistona Australis), they soon became popular throughout the Colonies.

The workshop was tutored by Sue Brian and supported by Don Brian, who learned the craft while living on Norfolk Island.

Twenty metres of plaiting from dried cabbage tree palm is needed to make one hat, which was made between sessions over a three-week period by each member of the group.

Some were members of Oberon Spinners and Weavers Guild and local colour was provided by Lynn Webb of Sydmouth Valley, who read a newspaper report of a bushranger who tried to hold up the Mutton Falls store. He fled empty-handed, leaving his cabbage tree hat behind!

Women in the Kanimbla Valley are recorded as weaving the hats in the evenings using rushes from local rivers.

While the group plaited, Mr Brian entertained them with cabbage tree hat songs.

IN OTHER NEWS AROUND OBERON:

FOOLs' vacancies

DO you enjoy bagging a bargain at a secondhand book stall? But just as much fun is selling those books to satisfied customers.

Chair Lyndle Hawkes and secretary Kathy Sajowitz have been the backbone of Friends of the Library's (FOOLs) profitable pavement and indoor book stalls, enjoying a chat with those snapping up bargains.

At FOOLs' AGM to be held on Tuesday, September 10 at 1pm, some existing committee members have indicated their willingness to continue, but due to Lyndle Hawkes' changing circumstances, she will not be standing for re-election as chair. FOOLs will miss her cheerful and energetic personality.

The other vital position of secretary will also be vacant.

Consider joining FOOLs' very informal committee of the future - a generous scope is allowed in fair trading rules so meetings can be held less frequently to suit busy lifestyles and the giant two-day secondhand book sale can still be held several times a year.