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Puggaree: Associated with SX126 Sergeant W S Osborne-White. He served at Kantara, Egypt, with 2/2 Australian General Hospital. He later served with 2/14 Australian General Hospital.

  • The hat band of the Australian slouch hat is called a 'puggaree'. It has previously been spelt 'pugari', ' puggery' and 'puggari'. It is from an Indian (Hindi)  word 'paggari' or 'pagri' which translates into something like small turban. One school of thought has it that the folds of the traditional Australian puggaree come from copying the British Indian Army's attempt to make the puggari look a little like a turban, even if only in stylised form.
 The Oxford English Reference Dictionary
 from Oxford University Press
puggaree n.

1 an Indian turban.
2 a thin muslin scarf tied round a sun-helmet etc. and shielding the neck. [Hindi; pagri = turban]

This is the top view of a civilian hat of a style from the middle to late 1800's with a pugari. As can be seen it is possible to lower the scarf part of the pugari to cover the back of the neck.

At one stage this hat belonged to Marcus Clarke

Click to enlarge Click to enlarge
WW1 & early WW2 era plain woolen hat band Late WW2 to current folded puggaree.
  • The folds are normally set so that they face up with the broad band on the bottom. The puggaree is at it's highest point on the left and right sides and it's lowest point on the front and back. see below
  • There have been occasions where the broad band is to the top. This is not common. see below


Slouch hat puggaree. Made by ADA in 1997 Size 56. 

Note what appears to be a smaller variation between lowest point and highest.

No enlargement available
  • Above; broad band to bottom
  • Right; broad band to top

image above from Rick's Hat Check Room

White cotton six pleat puggaree Worn by 3961 Corporal James Hamilton Welch. Welch was born in September 1927 and enlisted in the Australian Military Forces on 4 March 1946. With the rank of Corporal he was posted to Japan on 15 October 1946 with 66 Australian Infantry Battalion as part of the British Commonwealth Occupation Force. He was promoted to Sergeant while serving with 66 Bn and returned to Australia on 5 September 1947. He then served during the Korean War with A Company, 1 Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment from 3 March 1952 to 20 January 1953. On 11 April of that year he was promoted to Lieutenant. He again served overseas in New Guinea with the Pacific Islands Regiment from 4 September 1955 to 10 January 1957. Welch continued to serve with the army and retired with the rank of Major.

Size & number of folds in an Australian puggaree

Date Folds (pleats) Size at front and back Size at side
1885 Plaited leather (3 plaits) 38mm (1 inches) 38mm (1 inches)
1890 5 pleats (folds) 64mm (2 inches) 76mm (3 inches)
1903 7 pleats 38mm (1 inches) 64mm (2 inches)
1912 no fold hat band 51 mm (2 inches) 51 mm (2 inches)
WW1 no fold hat band 51 mm (2 inches) 51 mm (2 inches)
WW2 no fold hat band 51 mm (2 inches) 51 mm (2 inches)
195? 6 pleats not recorded not recorded
1967 5 pleats 38mm (1 inches) 64mm (2 inches)
2002 7 pleats 38mm (1 inches) 64mm (2 inches)
  • As with the 7 points on the Federation Star the 7 pleats on the puggaree are meant to represent 1 for each of the 6 States and 1 to represent the Territories.

Some puggarees over the years have been less regimented than the current models.

The colours of puggarees and hat bands

Date Unit/s Colour
1855 Victorian Mounted Rifles   Khaki
1890 NSW Cavalry   Red
  Field Artillery NSW   Dark blue
  Engineers NSW
Blue and red
  Mounted Infantry NSW ... White
  1st Regt NSW Infantry   Light drab
  2nd Regt NSW Infantry
Green and drab
  3rd Regt NSW Infantry
Purple & drab (later purple & scarlet)
  4th Regt NSW Infantry
Yellow and red
  Medical Staff Corps NSW   Dark drab
  Reserves NSW ... White
  General Staff NSW
Blue and fawn
  Permanent Staff NSW   Blue
1894 1st Regt NSW Infantry
Blue with white fold
  2nd Regt NSW Infantry
Green with white fold
  3rd Regt NSW Infantry
Blue with red fold
  4th Regt NSW Infantry
Blue with yellow fold
1896 Irish Rifles NSW
Lincoln green & two green stripes
  St George Rifles NSW
Royal blue with buff stripes
  Australian Rifles NSW
Green with one white stripe
1897 1st Australian Horse   Black
1899 Boer War Troops   Khaki
1903 Light Horse
Khaki & white centre fold
Khaki & Blue centre fold
Khaki & Red centre fold
Khaki & Dark green centre fold
  Army Service Corps 
Khaki & White centre fold
  Army Medical Corps
Khaki & Chocolate centre fold
  Army Ordnance Corps
Khaki & Blue centre fold
  Veterinary Department
Khaki & Maroon centre fold
  Volunteer Infantry (except Scottish)
Khaki & Dark green centre fold
1908 All units remained as 1903 and added
  Australian Intelligence Corps
Khaki & Pale blue centre fold
1912  Light Horse ... White
  Artillery   Scarlet
  Engineers   Dark blue
  Infantry   Green
  Signals   Royal purple
  Army Service Corps
White with blue centre stripe
  Medical Corps   Chocolate
  Veterinary Corps   Maroon
  Army Ordnance Corps
Blue with red centre stripe
  Army Legal Department   French grey
  Australian Intelligence Corps   Pale blue
  Automobile Corps   Brown (leather hat band)
WW1 All Arms and Services (AIF)   Khaki (6 Lt Horse; wallaby fur bands)
1930 Light Horse
Khaki with maroon fold
Blue with scarlet fold
Blue with garter blue fold
Blue with purple fold
  Army Service Corps
Blue with white fold
  Army Medical Corps
Khaki with dull cherry fold
  Army Veterinary Corps
Khaki with maroon fold
  Army Ordnance Corps

Khaki with blue, scarlet and blue folds
  Tank Corps

Green, scarlet and brown folds

Khaki with green and scarlet folds
  Sydney University Rifles
Blue with yellow folds
  Melbourne Rifles
Black with blue folds
WW2 All Arms and Services (2nd AIF)   Khaki
1948 All Arms and Services    Khaki (sand)
1957 1st Bn Royal Australian Regiment (1RAR)   Jungle green
Current Unchanged from 1948/1957   Khaki (sand)

1930's puggaree, possibly Engineers

Rosettes on the slouch hat

  • Rosettes were first worn on the slouch hat, as a background to the hat badge, in the 1890s. The various colours used at that time are not known to me.
  • The Defence Act of 1903 ... badges were backed with a distinctive cloth rosette in the corps or regimental colour.
Field Artillery
Service Corps


Garrison Arty
Medical Corps chocolate
Engineers red Veterinary Dept maroon
Infantry black Ordnance Corps blue

This rosette was worn by the (British) Imperial Yeomanry, behind the badges on their slouch hats. We can assume that Australia followed suit in the design.

With the raising of the 1st AIF in 1914 further standardisation occurred. Plain, NO FOLD khaki woolen  hat bands were adopted, ... 

image supplied by Grants Militaria ^^^

<<< McDougall VC. His slouch hat has the no fold woolen hat band but you can see that it has a top and bottom ridge line.



Although the white-striped folded puggaree worn by militia light horse units had been replaced by the plain khaki band, AIF light horse units were later allowed to wear the original; evidence of its use can be seen inperiod photographs. 
  • Approval was later rescinded; directions for AIF units to adopt a plain khaki puggaree soon followed (and were ignored in many cases).
The 6th Light Horse Regt (Tasmania) wore hat bands made from wallaby fur as seen here on 2420 Trooper RILEY, Kenrick Cory,  6th Australian Light Horse 1914-1918. 

Killed in action 27/03/1918. Age 26. Memorial at SYRIA 2 Damascus British War Cemetery. Son of Alick Charles and Louisa Anne Riley, of Fairview, Yass, New South Wales. 

Born at Mulgoa, Penrith, New South Wales.  

Donor: Peter Roberts

Pte. Charles Albert Streat 1st A.L.H. / 3rd Anzac Bn. I.C.C. (Imperial Camel Corps)
  • No. 2387
  • Enlisted: 22.12.15 RTA: 23.9.16.
  • Unit: 3rd Anzac Bn.
  • Ex. 1st A.L.H., 16th Reinforcements.
  • Enlistment details: Enlisted on 22nd December 1915 at 22. Listed as single, a farmer who gave his address (on enlisting) as 94 Liverpool Street, Paddington, NSW. He enlisted with the the 1st L.H.R (15-20th Reinforcements March - July 1916)
  • Embarkation: On 12th May 1916 from Sydney on the HMAT Anglo Egyption (A25) and at some point transferring to the Camel Corp of the 3rd Anzac Bn., returning to Australia on 9th August 1916. It would seem that given the short length of time overseas he was either wounded or contracted some form of illness.

This is the method used to insert a coloured stripe in the puggaree. This is possibly an Australian Intelligence Corps hat & puggaree.

Note the 4 fold puggaree on the slouch hat of Corporal Sydney Cossart of the Queensland Mounted Infantry who took part in the relief of Mafeking. He later served at the siege at Elands River. c.1917. 13238 Driver Reuben Griffin, K Supply Column, 5th Motor Transport Company. Note the pleated puggaree on the hat at a time when , supposedly, the folded puggaree was not in use. (Donor S. Reilly)

Tropical helmet with puggaree. The helmet is covered in cotton with a white finish. 

This photo clearly shows the puggaree with 7 folds, making 8 bands, superimposed over each other.

Note that it is lower in front and back than on the sides.

Note that the broad band is on the bottom

image from Rick's Hat Check Room

Today the Army wears the 7 fold khaki cotton muslin puggaree, (see photo left) with the exception of 1RAR, who wear a green puggaree. (see photo, right)  

That tradition started in Malaya when the regimental tailor, a Mr. Mohavved Beseek, working to a 

deadline and with no khaki material available made some out of green, British army shirt material he had to hand. The then CO of 1RAR determined that the green puggaree was to remain a 1RAR uniform item.

  • It is worth noting that although a puggaree is a hat band, not every hat band is a puggaree. The woven leather hat bands worn in the Boer War do not qualify as a puggaree and if you were pedantic about it neither would the wallaby fur bands or the plain woolen bands. 
    • Strictly speaking to be called a puggaree the cloth must be folded. 
  • RAAF puggaree, possibly late 1980s.

Puggarees on female headwear

Khaki fur felt hat with 5 fold cotton puggaree. A colour patch for 2/6 Australian General Hospital is sewn on the right side of the puggaree. The leather sweatband is marked 'N.S.E. 85N' at the back and stamped 'V.235 6 7/8 1942' on the left. The inside of the crown is marked in ink with 'EGLINTON'. A leather chin strap with square metal buckles is attached to the sweatband.

Leather hat band with Rising Sun badge on female khaki fur felt hat associated with VX91679 Corporal Valerie M Bracher who enlisted in the Australian Army Medical Women's Service (AAMWS). During World War 2 she served with 115 Australian General Hospital (AGH) at Heidelburg, Victoria, and 2/1 AGH in New Guinea and Darwin. At the end of the war she was attached to 107 AGH also in Darwin. 

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