What’s a Toodyay Helmet?
ALL MILLINERS and seamstresses put your thinking caps on as we need to solve the mystery of the Toodyay Helmet.
It is a forgotten colonial item attributed to Toodyay which has just recently come to light.
The following information is taken from the judge’s notes of a sitting of the Supreme Court, Criminal Court dated Monday, 3 February 1873.
“Edward Dunne sworn: I am a farmer of Ingham about 40 miles beyond Champion Bay, when at the time of the incident was a miner living at Yanganooka, about four miles north of Northampton.
“My son, Francis Edward Dunne, was at this time aged three years and nine months old, that was the last time I saw him alive.”
Dunne continues with a physical and dress description of his boy – he had light hair, he was plump and fair, active and tall for his age.
He was dressed in a blue serge outer dress, white flannel petticoats and a shirt and a little Toodyay Helmet, made of straw; no shoes or boots.
Enough said – the description of the Toodyay Helmet stopped me in my tracks.
For somebody to describe a hat in that manner meant that it, the Toodyay Helmet, must have been widely known to the populace of that period – at least in WA.
Just consider, here we have a garment, if it can be classed as such, that carries the Toodyay name.
Does anybody have any knowledge of a Toodyay Helmet, whether it be a family tradition, a photograph, a drawing, or better still, a surviving example?
If so, please contact Dr Robyn Taylor, President of the Toodyay Historical Society on 9574 2578.
Milton A Baxter