Posted by: travelrat | December 14, 2011

The Outback Spectacular … and The Hat!

The Sydney Hat

Brisbane 26th August 2010.

‘Spectacular’ is rather an over-used, and misused word these days. But, the Australian Outback Spectacular is just that … Spectacular!

What it is is a show, held in a huge, circus-type arena, where they tell the story of the exploration of the Outback, with a brief side-trip to the battlefields of the First World War, where the exploits of the Australian Light Horse are re-enacted.

I have no pictures for you, for the organisers don’t allow still or video photography inside the arena. But, I can show pictures of The Hat, which we all received … made by R.M. Williams, a respected manufacturer of work clothing … each of which had a coloured band, representing which station you were supposed to support in the horsepersonship competitions.

The Brisbane Hat

It’s not really my idea of an Aussie hat. I’d associate it more with the American Midwest, bib-and-brace overalls and Model T Fords! But, it is extremely good for gardening in Summer!

My other Aussie hat, I bought in Sydney in 1992, in a shop (I forget the name) in the Rocks area. What impressed me most was the helpful assistant, who wanted to know what style I wanted.

‘Errr … like ‘Sam’ in ‘The Flying Doctors’?’

‘Ah, yes! The ‘Snowy River’! A very popular line! What size would you like?’

To finalise, I can unreservedly say that the Outback Spectacular is worth every penny for the show, the meal …. and the Hat!

More about hats at 


  1. Hi Keith,
    The show is fantastic, and I haven’t met anyone that didn’t enjoy themselves at the show, but a lot of complaints about not being able to take pictures. 🙂

    The Hat is called The Australian Akubra, and it has been worn by Drovers, etc. for over 100 years. You may find this article in Wikipedia interesting, it has a lot of good fact about the akubra. 🙂

  2. The reason they gave, which sounded reasonable enough, was that flash might spook the horses. But, I suspect there are copyright issues there, too, although they didn’t state that.

    There are a number of styles of Akubra hat … my friend prefers what he calls the ‘Crocodile Dundee’! A noted wearer of the Akubra is the Egyptian Director of Antiquities (I wonder if he still is, after the recent ‘régime change?) Dr. Zahi Hawass, who was often seen on TV.

  3. Totally hat-tastic. I love a good hat of any sort. The Brisbane hat looks like it would be ideal on a sunny day!

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