Heritage | 25 Mar 2019
New car on your 21st? In Australia, you get your dad's old coat.
"One day son, all this will be yours.... and just look at that stitching."
Some sons want the shirt off their fathers back. In Australia, it's their coats they covet.
Driza-Bone have souls of their own and a tendency to outlive their wearers. Above all, they provide protection in some of the most hostile environments on earth.
The originals were cut from ship's sails. They were worn by deck-hands aboard wind-jammers which plied the Roaring Forties back in the 1880s. When Driza-Bone reached dry land, the pioneers were soon dictating design changes.
A longish coat suddenly became very long so that rain wouldn't enter the wearer's boot-tops, at the same time covering the knees and lower legs while on horseback. Then came a fantail, protecting the saddle, and the rider's backside from drenchings. Double wrist straps stopped rain from dribbling down the arms when hammering fences into the ground in foul weather. Leg straps prevented the coat and wearer taking off in the not infrequent cyclones. The Driza-Bone's free-flowing cape was perfected, together with a high neck strap snap closure and further reinforcements were born of the accumulated wisdom of countless cattlemen, drovers and bushwalkers.
All qualities of endurance which hold as true today as at any point in the coat's history.
When rolled into airbags, Driza-Bones have enabled men to cross flooded rivers. They have been used as fire blankets in bush infernos and prevented certain phenomena in near-perpetual rain.
In Australia, vintage Driza-Bones are still handed over as a sign of maturity.
Who needs a car anyway? They break down.
Add your story and any pictures of your beloved Driza-Bone to our collection of 'legends of the bush' by emailing email@example.com.