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Mayoral robes get a makeover

7 November 2019

Showcasing their work … Members of the Hervey Bay Spinners, Weavers and Fibre Artists present a hand-made fedora to Fraser Coast Mayor George Seymour.

The historic Fraser Coast mayoral robes have a new addition.

A silk and merino wool fedora hat, hand-made by members of the Hervey Bay Spinners, Weavers and Fibre Artists – and Fraser Coast Mayor George Seymour, has been added to the ensemble.

“George was very hands-on when we started making the hat,” chief hatter Jenny Stevens said.

Making the hat was a group effort, which involved Jenny Stevens making and laying the felt; Shirley Johnston finishing the trim while Dianne Boots and Joyce Jenkins made and decorated the hat box.

The making and shaping of the wool and silk felt took about two days – spread over a month.

“There is a lot rubbing to mix the silk and wool together and make the shape,” Ms Stevens said.

Felt and hat making is one of the many skills being kept alive by the Hervey Bay Spinners, Weavers and Fibre Artists who meet in the historic one-room Nikenbah School in Aalborg Road near the Hervey Bay Transfer Station.

“We run a felt and hat making courses regularly,” she said.

“It’s very hands-on and over the six week course participants make a hat.”

The fedora was welcomed by Cr Seymour.

“The mayoral robes are a link to our English heritage. Having the hat made from Australian merino wool and silk by locals help tie together our multicultural heritage and the present.

“It is also a reminder that we have such a wide array of talented artisans across the region who are preserving our culture and keeping alive historic practices.

“This is what I love about the Fraser Coast; the multitude of groups like the Hervey Bay Spinners, Weavers and Fibre Artists who help make the region a vibrant and fun place to live.”