Bass Strait Maritime Centre

Riding Habit

Owned by the Second Mrs. Rooke

Dated: NA

A popular past time in colonial Tasmania was fox hunting. Tasmania proved to be ‘more English than England’, which made for perfect hunting conditions. Often, due to scarcity, the fox was actually a deer or a kangaroo. If these could not be sourced, then a ‘bag fox’ may have been used. This created a drag, which was the term for the scent line that a fox created for hounds to follow.

Fox hunting was directly related to social status and power and as such, the upper-classes tended to get together and form ‘Hunt Clubs’. The North Western Hunt Club held its first meeting 1888.

Although it is not known if the Second Mrs. Rooke participated in any Hunt Clubs, ladies of the time may have worn similar attire to this habit, as it was important to be fashionable. Ladies who participated in hunts would ride side-saddle, with some even jumping fences and following rougher terrain with their male counterparts.

“There is not a cure,
For all maladies sure,
That reaches the heart to its core,
Like the sound of the horn
On a fine hunting morn:
And where is the heart can wish more?”

Daily Telegraph, Saturday 23 July, 1887
Photo Credit: Kelly Slater