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Trust Talks (FREE)

  • FREE – All welcome
  • Bookings essential
  • Limited spots available per talk



Talks are delivered online via the Zoom platform. For details, see: DigiTalks

The Trust Talks program is a series of free presentations by guest presenters, including historians and authors, on the evolution of Sydney Harbour, the enduring significance of our sites for First Nations People, the conservation of local flora and fauna, and other fascinating topics.

Members of the public are welcome to attend our Trust Talks, which are held every few months. Under normal circumstances, Trust Talks are held at one of our extraordinary places on Sydney Harbour. Due to the current climate, however, it has become difficult for people to visit our beloved destinations. As such, Trust Talks has evolved into a series of digital talks, which you can tune into from the comfort of your own home! (see also: DigiTalks)

Hero Convict Precinct 00

Convicts and Cabbage Tree Hats

Runs 1pm to 2pm on Wednesday 30 September 2020...

Talk overview

The manufacture of cabbage tree hats was a thriving cottage craft in Australia from the 1790s until the emergence of mass-produced felt hats in the 1930s. Although convicts and shepherds commonly made these modest hats, they were – for more than a century –worn by everyone, from bush rangers and bullockies to royalty. On 30 September, historians Sue and Don Brian will demonstrate how the iconic cabbage tree hat was made and share photos and traditional songs that reveal their significant place in Australian history.

About the presenter

Sue and Don Brian have been researching the lesser known social history of the convict era, the influence of 19th Century whaling on Norfolk Island culture and the traditional craft of Cabbage Tree Hat making. As ReCollected, they have led tours to Norfolk Island and have presented at the National Folk Festival, the Australian Folklore Conference and local history groups. Sue has taught the making of Cabbage Tree Hats to interested individuals, historical societies and milliners. Don Brian is a consummate singer of Australian songs in the traditional unaccompanied style.

Register now
Our next DigiTalk is scheduled for Wednesday 24 June. Be quick, spots are limited!
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Past talks

  • Cockatoo Island's Dockyard | John Jeremy, MD and CEO of Cockatoo Dockyard (1981 to 1991) | 13 May 2020
  • The life and times of James Cook | Andrew Phippen, Australian National Maritime Museum | 29 April 2020
  • Wildlife disease prevention | Tiggy Grillo, Wildlife Health Australia (WHA) | 21 November 2019
  • The Military History of Headland Park |Major Chris Ballantine of the Australian Army (retired)| 22 October 2019
  • Cockatoo Island's Dockyard | John Jeremy, MD and CEO of Cockatoo Dockyard (1981 to 1991) | 4 September 2019
  • Captain Cook's HMB Endeavour: an exploration | Ron Ray, Australian National Maritime Museum (ANNM) | 5 July 2019
  • Quarantine Unmasked: Surviving the 1918-19 influenza pandemic at North Head | Dr Peter Hobbins, the University of Sydney | 5 March 2019
  • Hidden In Plain View: The Aboriginal People of Coastal Sydney | Dr Paul Irish, MDCA | 21 November 2018
  • All at Sea: Australia's Maritime story | Warren Fahey AM, cultural historian | 10 July 2018