Pugaree is the usual name for an Indian Turban it comes from either the Hindi word Pagri or the Sanskrit word Parikara. The Pugaree was adopted by the British Army in India and worn on their hats or helmets; it was also a fashion accessory for women and worn as a scarf usually pleated around the crowns of hats or pith helmets.
The pugaree was introduced into Australia from the early days of settlement because of our close association with the British Military forces in India. It was worn by Settlers and Squatters on their Cabbage Tree Hats. Australian women wore pugarees on hats of high fashion and on straw hats.
In Australia the pugarree was used to keep cool during the summer and to soak up perspiration and to keep flies away. On occasions it was tied under the chin to stop the hat from falling off or around the back of the head in an attempt to keep the sun of the back of the head. It was also used as a towel to mop up perspiration. At other times it was used as sling or cut up for bandages.
Even as late as 1907 Telegraph Messengers wore pugarees on their peak caps and in February 1911 the South Australian Amalgamated Railway Service Association requested cap pugarees to be provided due to the hot weather, the Railway Commissioner complied within a few days. The Australian Army and Police Forces still use pugarees as part of their uniforms.
An unusual event took place in 1949 when a straw hat with a green pugaree was transported around the world with a sign on it that read, “Hand me on.” Later a photo appeared in the Townsville Daily Bulletin in 1949 of the hat with over 32 labels of carriers from around the world.
Are Indians An Ethnic Minority? Vols 1-5 (2008-2014)
© Len Kenna 11.03.2016