We acknowledge Australia’s First Nations Peoples as the Traditional Owners and Custodians of the land and give respect to Elders – past and present – and through them to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
2008/198/5 Hat (topia), fabric, maker unknown, North Sumatra, Indonesia, used by the AusAID Centre for Pacific Development and Training, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 1990. Click to enlarge.

Hat made in North Sumatra, Indonesia

Made
This hat is a representative example of topia hats made in North Sumatra, Indonesia. It forms part of a collection of headwear whose significance reflects both the diversity of their countries of origin and their gift to the AusAID Centre for Pacific Development and Training (AIDAB) as a token of appreciation. The hats were gifted to AIDAB by students who attended courses there between 1980 and 1988. The concept for the collection was initiated by Leon Robert (Bob) Heron, Principal of the Centre, after seeing a similar collection at a training unit in Geneva, Switzerland. The hat collection, which reflects Australia's long engagement with the Asia Pacific region as a training provider, was displayed at the Centre in Sydney, acting as a visual manifestation of the countries that benefited from training courses there.

The AusAID Centre for Pacific Development and Training (AIDAB) was founded in 1947 and until 1971 was known as the Australian School of Pacific Administration (ASOPA). Between 1971 and 1987 it became the International Training Institute (ITI) and finally AIDAB from 1997 to 1998. The Centre was known as ITI when the hats were originally donated by the students.

AIDAB grew out of an army civil affairs unit created during World War II and was based in the military precinct at Georges Heights, Middle Head, Sydney from 1948. From its early years AIDAB played an important role in the development of Papua New Guinea. By 1970 the Commonwealth Government had realised that despite its goal of independence for Papua New Guinea, the indigenous public service were not adequately trained. Thus the role of AIDAB changed to become a training centre to prepare Papuans and New Guineans for impending self government. Training was also made available to other nations in the Asia Pacific region. Until its closure in January 1998 the Centre still received strong demand for its education and teaching.

For 51 years AIDAB was a highly successful institution which provided continuing academic excellence and quality teaching and research. The organisation was Australia's only training institution established to train administrators and officers for Australia's overseas territories. Structural and name changes to the organisation reflect Federal Government foreign policy shifts in the Asia Pacific region over half a century.

During its history AIDAB was known for its association with a number of notable academics and administrators. John Kerr (later Sir John Kerr QC, Governor General of Australia) served as Principal in 1947. Others include the poet James MacAuley, Lieutenant Colonel Alf Conlon, Charles Rowley, Peter Lawrence, Camilla Wedgwood and Bob Carr (later Premier of New South Wales). Jack Mattes, a former principal of the Centre, remained at the centre to compile the laws of Papua New Guinea.

AIDAB is also an important element in the entire former military reserve and defence lands at Middle Head, George's Heights and Chowder Bay, which are historically significant as the location of continuous major defence works for Sydney Harbour and Port Jackson during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Rebecca Bower, June 2008

References:
Sydney Harbour Federation Trust, Management Plan - Mosman No. 7, Middle Head, 7 June 2007
Goff, Bill., 'The end of a unique institution', Focus, AusAID, March 1998, p20-22
Maxwell, Robyn., Textiles of Southeast Asia tradition, trade and transformation, Australian National Gallery Oxford University Press, 1990

Summary

Object No.

2008/198/5

Object Statement

Hat (topia), fabric, maker unknown, North Sumatra, Indonesia, used by the AusAID Centre for Pacific Development and Training, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 1990

Physical Description

Hat (topia), fabric, maker unknown, North Sumatra, Indonesia, used by the AusAID Centre for Pacific Development and Training, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 1990

A plain weave blue fabric topia hat with inlaid abstract pattern in metallic thread on the crown and the sides. The hat is lined in padded red [cotton] fabric with quilted machine stitched ornament, featuring a central floral motif. Label attached.

Marks

Location of hat on paper label, in black ink, 'TOPIA FROM NORTH / SUMATRA (INDONESIA)'.

Dimensions

Height

945 mm

Width

145 mm

Production

Notes

Topia made in North Sumatra, Indonesia in 1990.

History

Notes

This North Sumatran topia hat is from a group of hats donated by students attending courses at the AusAID Centre for Pacific Development and Training, from 1980-1988 when it was known as the International Training Institute (ITI). The collection was initiated by Leon Robert (Bob) Heron, Principal of ITI, after seeing a similar collection at a training unit in Geneva, Switzerland.

Students donated hats from their countries of origin as a gesture of thanks to ITI for their training and experience. Contemporary photographs of interiors of the Centre indicate the hats were pinned on boards and displayed on the walls.

The organisation known as The AusAID Centre for Pacific Development and Training (AIDAB) was originally known as the The Australian School of Pacific Administration (ASOPA) from 1947-1971. It became the International Training Institute (ITI) from 1971-1987 and finally AIDAB from 1987-1998. It is most commonly known as ASOPA.

AIDAB grew out of an army civil affairs unit created during World War II. The unit was known originally as the Land Headquarters School of Civil Affairs, based at the Royal Military College, Duntroon, Canberra. In 1947 the Commonwealth Government approved the establishment of a Civil School as a permanent body with teaching and research duties. It was based in the military precinct at Georges Heights, Middle Head, Sydney.

From its early years AIDAB played an important role in the development of Papua New Guinea. From 1948 AIDAB offered courses to train Australians as administrators for Papua New Guinea, many of whom made a significant contribution to the country's development.

Throughout the 1950s and 1960s AIDAB grew in stature, size and significance as its training courses developed. During this period courses diversified into primary and secondary teacher training for both Papua New Guinea and Northern Territory indigenous schools, as well as for senior local government officials.

By 1970 the Commonwealth Government had realised that despite its goal of making Papua New Guinea independent, there was no adequately trained public service of indigenous people in the country. In 1971, the role of AIDAB changed to become a training centre for Papuans and New Guineans, preparing them for impending self government. Participants from other developing countries in the Asia Pacific region could also now attend.

In 1973 the School was integrated into the structure of the office of the Australian Development Assistance Agency and became known as the International Training institute (ITI). The Institute ran short and refresher courses in education and middle management. At its height in the 1980s the Institute was conducting 23 short courses per year.

In 1987 the Institute became the AusAID Centre for Pacific Development and Training (AIDAB). Until its closure in January 1998 the Centre still received strong demand for its education and teaching.

Source

Credit Line

Gift of AusAID, 2008

Acquisition Date

8 October 2008

Cite this Object

Harvard

Hat made in North Sumatra, Indonesia 2021, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 7 March 2021, <https://ma.as/381294>

Wikipedia

{{cite web |url=https://ma.as/381294 |title=Hat made in North Sumatra, Indonesia |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=7 March 2021 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}