The khaki hat, first adopted into Australian military service in 1885 when it was chosen for the newly-formed Victorian Mounted Rifles, featured a high-domed crown and a narrow brim. The brim was turned up on the right side. The colony of New South Wales adopted a felt hat for its mounted troops. In 1890, local military commandants agreed that all their forces, except the artillery (who wore helmets), should adopt a felt hat. This hat was worn with an indented crown, looped up on the left side and decorated with plumage.The hat was first worn overseas in the South African War.
The Defence Act of 1903 combined the former colonial defence forces into a single Australian army. The hat was now universally turned–up on the left hand side. The most well known of various new embelishments was the emu feather plume worn by the Light Horse.
Further standardisation and changes to embellishments occurred from time to time, with the raising of the 1st AIF in 1914, the reorganisation in 1922 of the Australian Military Forces and the introduction of the voluntary militia force in 1930, 1939 and in postwar years.