Libby Munro Launches First Bluegrass Hat Co Collection in Albion

Accomplished actress and NIDA graduate Libby Munro has launched her first collection of handmade hats under her new label, Bluegrass Hat Co. The Hollywood Collection was unveiled to more than 100 guests during a special event at Collingwood Black Espresso in Albion.

Ms Munro, the daughter of William David Munro, a fourth-generation cowboy west of Charleville,  has been known for her signature Akubra hat for most of her life. Whilst staying in Los Angeles in 2019, she was gifted a custom-made Meshika “Alberto” hat by her partner, Nick King, and designed this piece with all the hatband elements that fortified her creative experience.

Whilst stuck back home in Australia during the lockdowns, Ms Munro thought back to this custom-made hat. After getting in touch with milliner Brenda Treasure on the Sunshine Coast, Ms Munro trained one-on-one as a hat designer for six months during the pandemic. Out of this venture, Bluegrass Hat Co was born. 

Photo Credit: Supplied
Photo Credit: Supplied

It was her mother who blurted out the name “Bluegrass” whilst she was brainstorming ideas. After doing some reading on the origins of Bluegrass music, Ms Munro realised that it was a link to her long-deceased cowboy father.

Photo Credit: Supplied

Bluegrass Hat Co’s The Hollywood Collection features The Bogie, Eastwood, The Duke, The Pitt, The Monroe, The Blue Angel, The Bacall, and The Taylor, which are named after the actors who have inspired Ms Munro, as a cinema and theatre buff.

Libby also makes custom designs specifically to suit a person and personality, just like her experience with the Alberto hat during her time in Venice. In between her new hat business, Libby has been working on a project with Netflix. 

Order Bluegrass Hat Co handmade hats online and follow their Facebook page for updates on the next collection. 

Uncover the History of Dunaverty, One of Albion’s Iconic Houses

If you are passing by Birkbeck Street or Hudson Road in Albion, this iconic landmark is quite hard to miss. The heritage-listed Dunaverty is one of the fine examples of a ‘boom era’ 1880s timber residence which features fine personalised detailing.

Dunaverty has been making a picturesque contribution to Albion’s streetscapes for over 130 years now. Apart from its beautiful details, the house also houses a great history as it is highly associated with one of Brisbane’s 1880s immigrant entrepreneurs, Archibald McNish Fraser.

History of Dunaverty

Decorative detailing on Dunaverty. Photo credit: Brisbane City Council

In 1885, builder and real estate entrepreneur Archibald McNish Fraser purchased the Dunaverty site from his father-in-law, John Barclay. After building Dunaverty in 1887, he formally launched his own real estate business called the Onward Real Property Mart.

One of the standout features of the house is the personalised detailing throughout that reflects Fraser’s Scottish background. Scottish motifs decorate Dunaverty’s window and entry brackets, verandah cast iron lacework, and the stair stonework.

Archibald McNish Fraser

Sketch of Fraser Archibald McNish. Photo credit: John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Image number: 167284

Fraser arrived in Brisbane from Argyllshire, Scotland in 1880. At the age of 22, he had already completed his building apprenticeship, but with little money. In his humble beginnings, he worked as a building contractor in Brisbane and Cleveland.

Fraser built up his business and by the mid-1880s, he began to move into real estate. He might have built Dunaverty to help showcase his business.

His real estate company was one of the most successful in Brisbane in the 1880s. In 1887, Fraser was described in the newspaper as owning “one of the largest real estate property businesses in the city, and a few more years’ prosperity at the present ratio of increase will probably make him a millionaire” (Queensland Figaro and Punch, 20 August 1887).

Fraser and his family lived in Dunaverty until the economic depression hit in 1893. The family had moved to West End to be nearer to his property developments.

Dunaverty’s Occupants

Dunaverty (2006); Photo credit: Heritage Branch staff/Queensland Heritage Register

After the Fraser family moved out of the residence, it has been occupied by new tenants almost every year.

In 1912, William McGregor bought the property. By then, the house was renamed “Carvarmore”. Dunaverty changed hands several times until the current owners bought it in 1998. Unfortunately, when the house was still vacant in the same year, some of its cedar joinery and ironmongery was stolen.

Dunaverty remains to be a significant landmark in the suburb. In fact, it is one of the stops of the Albion hertigae trail.