Slouch hat : Colonel J A K Mackay, 1st Australian Horse

Unit Light horse units
Place Oceania: Australia, Australian Capital Territory, Canberra
Accession Number REL25972
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Headdress
Physical description Fur felt
Maker Unknown
Date made Unknown
Conflict Period 1910-1919

1903 pattern khaki fur felt slouch hat with 1897 pattern 1st Australian Horse slouch hat brass badge and Light Horse militia puggaree. The hat has rectangular oxidised copper socket for a plume, but no plume is present.

History / Summary

Slouch hat worn by Colonel James Alexander Kenneth Mackay, 1st Australian Horse at the military parade for the naming ceremony of Canberra in 1913.

Born at Wallendbeen NSW in 1859, James Alexander Kenneth Mackay was educated at home and at Camden College and Sydney Grammar School. At Mittagong in 1885, he raised a volunteer cavalry troop called the West Camden Light Horse and was appointed Captain in Command. He later returned to the family property near Wallendbeen and was elected as a Protectionist to the Legislative Assembly for Boorowa in 1895. Mackay was actively involved in a variety of positions in the Legislative Council throughout his life.

In 1897, Mackay raised the 1st Australian Horse, a regiment of cavalry recruited country districts, and was appointed to the command of this unit in 1898 with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. When a squadron from the regiment was sent to the Boer War, Mackay remained behind due to his rank. He was given command of the New South Wales Bushman's Contingent which sailed from Sydney in 1900. Mackay and the NSW Bushmen saw extensive service in South Africa. Injured when his horse fell outside Zeerust, Mackay was sent to Cape Town and in November 1900 he was appointed Chief Staff Officer for the various Australian contingents.

In July 1901 Mackay returned to Sydney and was appointed Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB), Mentioned in Dispatches, and granted the honorary rank of Colonel. From 1906 to 1907 Mackay was chairman of a Royal Commission covering the administration of Papua and in 1912, commanded the 1st Light Horse Brigade and supervised its reorganisation into the 3rd Light Horse Brigade. Mackay commanded the military parade at Canberra in 1913 for the setting of the foundation stone and the naming of the capital. Too old for active military service during the First World War, he was appointed to raise an Australian Army Reserve from returned soldiers, and was its first Director-General from 1916.

He was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1920 and retired in the same year with the honorary rank of Major General. Mackay returned to the family property to which he had maintained a strong connection. He died in Cootamundra in 1935.