Two hats on the flagpole


Way back in 1925 excessive importing caused glum unemployment in Australian factories.  At this time Mr. Jones gave the Mayor of Warrnambool, Cr. Ben Abbey, a cheque for charity wagering an Australian Akubra hat would outwear any imported product.  

At a public gathering, the Mayor marked and signed inside two hats - one an Aussie Akubra and the other an imported Borsalino.  These two hats were then publicly nailed to the top of two flagpoles of the old F.J. Shop in Liebig St.  These hats remained aloft in rain, sun, wind and weather for one month.  

At a further public gathering attended by the Mayor, the hats were brought down and inspected.  Public examination revealed:-

  1. Both had faded equally.
  2. The sweatband leather of the imported hat had gone harder than the Aussie model.  

Final triumph came when Mr. Jones asked the Mayor to scratch his fingernail around the band of both hats - hey presto!  The imported hat band fell to pieces and the Aussie band remained intact!  Both were similar quality silk bands. The Mayor gave back the cheque, the public enjoyed the experiment and sales never looked back! 

Do You Know or FJ Daily Staff Bulletin from 1964 re-telling the story.  

Depression era parade in Warrnambool with Fletcher Jones float topped by a hat asking "Is yours Australian?"  Photo: Jones Family Collection

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