Bertie Davies - Our Man in Melbourne
Letter from Melbourne
A quick note to say that after our latest plea for men on the ground in the Five Eyes nations, a dead letter drop has confirmed the successful recruitment of a Melboune operative. This is very pleasing. As any Sydney resident will tell you, Melbourne is the finest city in all Australia.
Gentlemen, I give you Bertie Davies. (Now imagine an Australian person standing at a rostrum and nodding a greeting to you.) Please make him feel very welcome.
What can Bertie tell us about Melbourne to begin with? Over to you Bertie:
You are right in highlighting that R M Williams moleskins (while not forgetting their wonderful boots) are one of Australia’s major contributions to traditional dress. They are worn in the Australian countryside across the complete social spectrum (viz: pastoralists, graziers, farmers, shearers and farmhands) for their practicality and durability. But in the major cities, moleskins and boots are a social signifier, worn by an Antipodean version of the Sloane Ranger. Moleskins go perfectly well with a tweed jacket, a Barbour or a polo shirt and are often worn by the urban haute bourgeoisie as an act of social solidarity. They’re also worn by 'Collins Street Cockies', 'Pitt Street Farmers' and 'Queen Street bushies' who wear this outfit to signify their connection to the land.
Marvellous Melbourne offers the very traditional gents outfitter Henry Bucks, and the less traditional but bewhiskered (and sometimes even tattooed!) younger chaps at Captains of Industry and Smart Alec Hatters.
Most importantly it gave tweedy icon Barry Humphries (above and below) to the world.
We look forward to any further intelligence from Bertie. And we really must cover Barry more — we've only ever written on his wonderful music series So Rare. We must have him in our gallery.
Tweedy's Note: 'Collins Street Cockies', 'Pitt Street Farmers' and 'Queen Street bushies' are Australian terms for affluent city dwellers.