Dangling corks around the brim of a hat?

Anybody know why you sometimes see folks with dangling things (corks, knotted string, etc.) around the brims of their hats? I’m thinking specifically of Australian and South American sugar cane cutters.

Seems pretty distracting. Does it have a purpose?

No cite, but I’ll try to find one.

I believe that they are there to shoo bugs away. probably flies or bees.

A Girl Scout site explaining the reason for the corks and giving directions on making you own.


First, to establish credentials, I am Australian.

The corks were for keeping flies off.

You will note I used the past tense.

They are now used to indicate that one is attempting to look like an archetypal old-time country Australian. Rather like wearing a spotted neckerchief, chaps and a colt revolver to show one is a cowboy from the “Wild West”. No one actually wears a hat with corks just for its own sake these days, and IIRC historical research shows that they hardly ever did in the past either.

Flies in country areas used to be a major problem, and although corks would have been distracting, they would have been less distracting than the flies. Australian bush flies do not bite or sting but have this habit of resting on you or hanging around your face in numbers, in a pointlessly annoying fashion designed to drive one to madness.

The flies were a product of there being large amounts of cattle dung around. In the last decade or so the African dung beetle has been introduced to Australia, and it has had an amazing effect, causing the number of flies to drop to the level where they are not a problem, in most places.

Another Aussie checking in here.

Princhester’s got it right. I’ve never actually seen anybody do it. Douglas Adams once described these hats as “things Australians wear for making Qantas commercials”.

Eric Idle wore such a hat during Monty Python’s “Bruce sketch.” I learned what they were for from my brother-in-law, late from Sydney.

I keep on seeing a different thread title, substituting one letter in “corks”.

Gotta go wash out my brain now.

G’day Bruce.

They were also worn in an episode of The Goodies in which the the three guys arrived in Sydney, and went straight to the “Pom’s Outfitters” shop. heheh. IIRC, Bill Oddie left the bottles attached to the corks. :slight_smile: