COLLECTOR: Hat enthusiast Neil Ward.
COLLECTOR: Hat enthusiast Neil Ward. Contributed

Quirky collections a festival delight

MILES locals know how to put on a show, especially the town's collectors.

Back to the Bush festival-goers had the chance to take a peek at some of the quirky collections in town in a self-guided tour last Friday - including Neil Ward's hat collection.

Mr Ward, whose mother was a milliner, has collected more than 150 hats in his time.

"I've got hats from all around the world, from say a guardsman's bearskin through to glass firemen's helmets, policemen's hats, helmets, ladies' hats,” he said.

His fascination with headgear started when he saw a "very conservative gentleman getting down on one knee with someone's different hat on, singing.”

"I thought, 'If one hat will do that, what'll a collection do?'”

His favourite piece is a white top hat with a rattlesnake-skin band and silver concha he picked up in Florida.

"It's been worn to the races,” he laughed.

Mr Ward said he'd loved opening up his collection for the festival and was surprised how many people were interested to see his hats.

"A few of them tried some on, took photos of them - with them on. Quite enjoyed it.”

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