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“Spirit of Australia”Inspired by a local

When a story really writes itself…..

The Spirit of Australia Tartan was designed by myself and Jennifer McAdam from The House of Tartan in Perth Western Australia. It was officially registered at the Scottish register of Tartans on January 25th, 2022. 6 months before that, we decided to create a tartan that represented modern day Australia.

To us, that meant:

  • the unique beaches of Australia’s coastline

  • the oceans that make Australia the biggest island on earth

  • the drought and floods for the climate

  • the unique red soils

  • the resources that make Australia unique.

  • After careful consideration and discussion, we had the “reason” for creating the tartan, so now it was time to pick colours for the tartan and they were:

  • White for the beautiful sandy beaches we enjoy

  • Blue for the oceans that make Australia the biggest island on earth

  • Grey for the much needed rains for our climate

  • Red for the soils that make Australia clearly identifiable from the International Space Station

  • Gold for the minerals and resources that reflect both beauty and practicality

Naming the tartan was so hard, yet so easy

In early January 2022, 6 months after starting the process, we still didn’t have a name for our first tartan and it was Craig Hollywood, that was going to help us with that.

Firstly, an introduction to Craig is necessary. Craig Hollywood was born in Glasgow and immigrated to Australia in 2001, working as a Civil engineer, but he really wanted to follow his passion of counselling or as a social worker. He became an Australian citizen in 2005 and decided to start Short Back and Sidewalks, which is a “For-Purpose Organisation”. His reason for starting the organisation manifested through his real life experience. Craig says, “I grew up in a loving family, but we had a family member unfortunately pass away as a result of substance and alcohol abuse. Just because of what happened to him, it doesn’t mean he was a bad person. I just look at everyone in that situation in the same way as I looked at my Uncle.”

From barber to CEO, Short Back and Sidewalks today has 350 volunteers servicing the homeless, one haircut at a time, with a desire to make a connection, with no judgement at its core. So, when I met Craig, I didn’t know any of this, but after half an hour, fitting Craig for a kilt outfit, I discovered he was going to hire the kilt to meet the Prime Minister, on Australia Day 2022, as Nominee for Australian of the Year award.

So, the creative process for developing the tartan into a kilt was from us and naming the tartan was inspired by Craig Hollywood’s journey. The tartan represents the physical nature of Australia, but Craig inspires Australians via a free haircut and a chat. Rightly so, we value and honour these character traits, as Australians.

Greg McAdam


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