The Herald-Sun recently ran a feature article on Milliner's creations as the Melbourne Cup was getting closer.
Kim Wilson the paper's Fashion Editor wrote that the nation has a great love affair with hats and headpieces at this time of year. Whether it be a fabulous sculptured fascinator or an eye-catching brimmed hat, Kim Wilson said that we are spoiled for choice with a swag of specialists creating masterpieces in our own backyard.
Last year's Melbourne Cup day at our local church coincided with the day activity function "Just For You" where on this occasion, everyone was given materials to create as fascinator and my wife Delma won the prize.
These types of events happen all across the nation on Melbourne Cup day and the centre piece for the ladies are the hats and headpieces.
Who can forget the Royals - Kate and Will's wedding – part from Pippa's bridesmaid's dress the talk of the town was Princesses Eugenie's and Beatrice's head dress (hats). I for one had no idea how they stayed in place!!
Kim Wilson explained that commissioning a custom-made headpiece can set you back as much as $500 depending on the designer and the detail, but buying off the rack is far more affordable. But another option, is maybe a rental head piece and pray one of your friends didn't rent it the year before.
All this reminds me of the British sitcom Keeping up Appearances with Mrs Bucket (pronounced by her as Bouquet) holding one of her candlelight suppers and one of the lady guests arriving in the same dress as she was wearing. Drama plus followed as one might imagine.
Milliner's creations are not only designed for Melbourne Cup and Racing functions. Increasingly hat wear is becoming popular at other sporting events, social occasions, garden parties, cultural functions and openings of this and that.
Hats are coming back into vogue big time. We've all seen the Miss Marple (Agatha Christie) movies where hat boxes were part of the retinue of travel requirements. They were cumbersome and awkward but low and behold anyone treating a hat box roughly. They contained prized possessions. A gentleman knew that a hat box was an extension of the woman's personage.
Churches of the era, right through the late 60's, was a place where not only was a hat worn out of biblical decorum but as a display for admiration. I can recall (even as a young lad), many a conversation by my elders of that era where someone's hat was the central topic rather than the hearty hymn singing or the preacher's message.
Headwear has been a feature of women's attire since time immemorial it seems as there are numerous references to such hats in the biblical record. Amos the prophet didn't mince his words when he referenced such rich, primly and bling as the "Cows of Bashem".
Jessie Lake migrated from England to Australia as a 17 year old in 1902 finding her way to Gympie in Queensland the great Gold Rush town that saved Queensland's mercantile and business acumen.
It was in Gympie that Jessie Lake who was head milliner of Rankin & Carey's, met her future husband http:/www.writerspen.com.au/bushorchestra/family_logo/life_of/TronsonBiographyWalter.html' target="_blank">Walter Tronson.
In her diary she recorded:
"Easter came and Walter went to friends in Gympie. We met each other; I had come from England when I was 19 years old. I was a milliner and working in a shop. I was nearly 22 years old when we met and we became friends. Walter had someone working on the farm for him and he was working in his father's shop, so we met often. Then we decided to get married."
"Uncle Will Crooks, a Member of Parliament in England gave me away. After our honeymoon, which was only a few days, we went back to the farm. It took me a while to get used to the change of life. We took our butter to Tewantin - how I liked these Wednesdays - a cup of tea and a chat to everyone. We served everyone in Tewantin".
Hats and the Church today
This is very much a question as to what society you live and where the traditions of Christian worship and hat wear have been established. This web site gives 16 bible references associated with wearing hats.
Once almost all women wore hats to church, now only a minority in western society wear any head covering at all. The Reformation's great leaders, Luther, Calvin and Knox all encouraged women to wear head coverings of some sort during 'worship'. The Brethren's today still hold such a view.
It is a very different story today in Christian churches in line with the tone of western society and the last fifty years of the women's liberation movement. My wife Delma grew up in country town Methodist churches (Taree and Maclean) where hat wearing was never seen to be conditional to attendance and bore no relationship to salvation.
In the Baptist churches I have worshipped or served in ministry roles, any head covering was at the discretion of the worshipper without pro or against options and again, has never borne any link to that of Salvation.
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He mentors young writers and has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed athttp://www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html