Akubra hat owned and worn by Heather Mitchell when actively involved in agri-politics in Victoria in the 1980s. It was made or sold by Thomas CookBoot and Clothing Co.

Heather Mitchell was the first female President of the Victorian Farmers Federation (1986-1989) and joint inaugural Chair of Landcare Victoria with Joan Kirner.

Fourty badges are attached to the hat which reflect key issues and associations of importance to Heather Mitchell, including the National Farmers Federation, Victorian Farmers Federation, Australian Red Cross Society, Longernong Agricultural College, Country Fire Authority Victoria, Victorian Bush Nursing Association, Country Women's Association, Greening Australia and Conservation and Natural Resources Victoria.

The hat was presented to Museums Victoria by Deirdre Brocklebank, Heather's daughter, at the Hopetoun Women on Farms Gathering in 2016.

This is the first artefact collected for the Invisible Farmer Project. The Invisible Farmer Project was the largest ever study of Australian women on the land, uncovering the histories and stories of Australian women in agriculture. It began as a pilot project (2015-2016) and evolved into a three year (2017-2020) nation-wide partnership between rural communities, academic, government and cultural organisations, funded by the Australian Research Council.

Physical Description

Akubra hat with 39 badges.


This hat was worn by one of the most celebrated and influential women in Australian agriculture, who was an important Victorian contributor to the Australian Rural Women's Movement in the 1980s-1990s. The Akubra hat is also an iconic and gendered symbol of rural Australia and the 'man on the land'. In adopting this Akubra as her public persona Heather Mitchell directly and successfully challenged the gendered nature of rural Australia and the role of women in it. The hat is also a compact and colourful document of community action - 40 badges represent a diversity of social, medical & community organisations from across Australia and overseas and illustrate significant ongoing issues affecting culture and society.

More Information