Here’s why every Australian soldier wears the subcontinental invention that is the puggaree – SBS Punjabi

The Slouch Hat is a "standardised headdress" for members of the Australian Defence Force, but few realise that the slouch hat is accompanied by a uniquely subcontinental addition – the ‘puggaree’.

Lieutenant Amrinder Ghuman leads 2 Initial Employment Training Troop onto parade – Photo: SME
By Avneet Arora | AUSTRALIA |

Few things are as uniquely Australian as the iconic slouch hat.

But what completes this symbol of military pride worn by every soldier is an element of adornment hailing from the subcontinent and its British colonial era. The khaki-coloured cotton puggaree is worn above the brim of the Slouch Hat with a unit colour patch sewn on the right side.

  • Slouch Hat is the “standardised headdress” for all members of the ADF, with every member issued a ‘puggaree’
  • Puggaree is a light-coloured cotton band worn on the Slouch Hat
  • The current official puggaree has seven pleats, each representing the states and territories of Australia

Paul McAlonan, a senior historian at the Australian Army History Unit told Manpreet Kaur Singh of SBS Punjabi that every ADF member is issued a puggaree. He said the only variance to this requirement is “consideration of the respective religious or cultural affiliations of the personnel.”

“Personnel whose recognised cultural or religious affiliations preclude wearing of the Slouch Hat wear a headdress that is respective of that cultural or religious affiliation.

SEE ALSO: The Slouch Hat

Khaki felt slouch hat – Photo: Australia War Memorial

Last year, Jasjit Singh, an Army Reserve Combat Engineer scripted history as he became the first and only turban-wearing sapper who formed part of the Catafalque Party that slow-marched inside the historic Melbourne Cricket Ground ahead of the annual Anzac Day match on April 25.

Speaking to SBS Punjabi after the march in April 2019, the young sapper said, “It was a great honour as it allowed me to represent the Australian Army and the Sikhs at the same time.”

“People are already messaging and commenting on Facebook that they had no idea about the ‘puggaree’ and a high school history teacher has mentioned that they are going to be taking this information to the classrooms,” said Mr Singh.

Read the full story, ‘Here’s why every Australian soldier wears the subcontinental invention that is the puggaree’ (SBS Punjabi, 20 Feb 2020), here. 



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