Busted hat tells many a tale

Warwick Daily News - South West Queensland Rural Weekly - - News - Joel Gould

YOU can leave your hat on.

Joe Cocker said that, and Evan McCosh has been do­ing ex­actly that with his leg­endary “busted hat” for 47 years.

He first wore the 1896-model Lord Baden-Pow­ell felt hat when he was a young Scout in 1970, when his par­ents pre­sented him with what was a pride and joy piece of head­wear.

Since then it has been burnt, worn for days on end fish­ing, hik­ing and at the beach ... and has been with him to Mt Ever­est base camp.

Last Christ­mas the hat was “re­tired” af­ter a Christ­mas out­ing to Talle­budgera, but don’t be sur­prised if it comes out of re­tire­ment again this De­cem­ber.

Mr McCosh, who lives at Flin­ders View, en­tered his tried and true hat in the Ip­swich Show’s “busted hat” cat­e­gory, achiev­ing sec­ond place.

“I was 13 years old when I got the hat with a whole brand new Scouts uni­form,” he re­called.

“You were proud as punch be­cause you were go­ing to Scouts, af­ter go­ing to Cubs for four years.

“But a cou­ple of years later it got burnt.”

Mr McCosh’s wife Robyn has writ­ten a bril­liant poem about the hat, based on the in­for­ma­tion her hus­band gave her, and one of the stan­zas refers to the “war wound” it re­ceived.

It goes like this:

For many years I wore it as a Scout

There are lots of sto­ries I can tell you about.

One such story, hap­pened only af­ter two years

Rais­ing just one, of my great­est fears...

Mr McCosh picks up the story, while point­ing to the hole on the brim.

“It was at a Silk­stone Scout fete on a Satur­day af­ter­noon,” he said.

“Ev­ery­one pan­icked and pulled all the stalls down and packed ev­ery­thing away, and I threw the hat down to the side near the bar­be­cue.

“In the wind a coal got blown out of the bar­be­cue and landed on my hat.

“Later, when I saw it, the hat stunk. And it stunk for years af­ter be­cause of the burn­ing felt.”

The young McCosh knew that his work­ing class par­ents couldn’t af­ford to re­place it, be­ing an ex­pen­sive hat.

So he kept wear­ing it, and wear­ing it, and wear­ing it.

Robyn’s poem takes up the story:

Whether it be wind, rain or sun pro­tec­tion

This hat has pro­vided it all, just to men­tion

Used for many ac­tiv­i­ties such as mow­ing and ski­ing

It has played a big part of my true well be­ing.

Mr McCosh wore the hat wher­ever he went, for shade.

It went with him to Mt Ever­est base camp with a group of trekkers.

He wore it to Dou­ble Is­land Point on beach trips.

Re­luc­tantly, Mr McCosh re­alised last Christ­mas that his hat was just about to split in two.

His wife bought him a new hat, and old trusty went in a spe­cial place.

“It hangs in my shed now,” he grinned.

“But I can still wear it if I re­ally need to.

“I have fought tooth and nail to keep that hat.

“It has been such a part of my life. It brings back so many good mem­o­ries. I can go through a thou­sand things think­ing about that hat.

“I used to take it to squash tour­na­ments, be­cause it was the only hat I ever had.”

It was Robyn who sug­gested her hus­band en­ter the hat in the Ip­swich Show.

“She saw it ad­ver­tised and said ‘You have got the win­ning hat surely’,” he said.

“I thought ‘Why not?’” Robyn writes her hus­band’s farewell to the hat in the last two lines of her poem:

I am sure we will meet again in heaven

Good­bye, from your best friend EVAN.

But maybe that farewell is a bit pre­ma­ture.

“Where it is in my shed, I see it ev­ery time I walk in,” Mr McCosh said.

“If I am get­ting all my gear down to go away for Christ­mas, there is ev­ery chance it will go in with my gear - just so I can hang it in the an­nexe at the car­a­van park.

“Ev­ery­one recog­nises me there, just be­cause of that hat.”

When you see this busted hat on the hori­zon, you cer­tainly know who is un­der it.

To bor­row wife Robyn’s words, and put them in her hus­band’s voice:

“I can­not bring my­self to lay it to rest.

“My hat to me, will al­ways be the best.”

Do you have a hat that looks like it sur­vived a nu­clear holo­caust, or at the very least 20 or 30 years worth of sweat, drench and cow poo? Send pho­tos of your prized busted hat and a few re­lated tales about it to news@ru­ral­weekly.com.au.

PHO­TOS: CON­TRIB­UTED

BRAND NEW: Evan McCosh in 1970, the day he re­ceived his new Scouts hat.

Evan McCosh wear­ing his Scouts hat while re­lax­ing.

PHOTO: ROB WIL­LIAMS

Evan McCosh with his en­try into the Ip­swich Show Busted Hat cat­e­gory.

Evan McCosh wear­ing his Scouts hat at his wed­ding re­hearsal in Brown's Park.

Evan McCosh wear­ing his Scouts hat at Dou­ble Is­land Point.

Evan McCosh wear­ing his Scouts hat fish­ing.

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