These hats were commonly known as duck caps. A black silk ribbon around the base identified the name of the ship each sailor served on.
Until recently, very few Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were known to have served in the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) during the First World War. In the Second World War, however, the RAN employed some 30 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders from Melville Island to patrol the coastline and assist in the rescue of downed airmen. What skills might these locally recruited men have been able to bring to this role?