Velvet Hat with Leather Case
It is thought that this hat was owned by the Rooke family, however the ‘Dunbar’ written in ink on the leather case suggests it could have belonged to Mr. Dunbar at some stage too. James Dunbar was born in Scotland in 1822 and met his wife, Elizabeth Barrass while working as a railroad and bridge contractor in New Zealand. They returned to England to marry in 1855, and had their first child, Archibald in 1856. In 1859 they had another child, Mary, in New Zealand, but sadly she died a year later. James, (and eventually Archibald) moved to Torquay in the late 1800s.
Even in his advanced age, James continued to travel and was a prominent member of the community. He was a member of the Town Board on two occasions and was the last remaining member of the Torquay Baths Company before it was given to the Devonport Municipal Council in the early 1900s. Upon his death in 1910, his estate on Pardoe Street was auctioned off as Archibald had passed in 1898 and he had no other descendants.
“The Household Furniture comprises— Piano, 6 chairs and armchair, music stool whatnot, 3 clocks, cruet, linoleums, round table, sofa, kerosene stove, garden hose, safe, 3 tin trunks, bedsteads, mattresses, toilet table, wire stretcher, square tables, fold chairs, toilet glasses, chest drawers (4), pictures; cane rocker, washstand, cutlery, crockery and glassware, coffee grinder, sewing machine, 7 chairs fire guard, curtains, 3 Austrian chairs, saw, 2 flat irons, tinware, kitchen utensils, and 2 tables, scuttle and buckets, syphon, wringers, barrow, 3 galvanised baths, commode, 2 ladders, 36 books, and lot of sundries.”
Advocate, Saturday 27 May 1922
Photo credit: Kelly Slater