A 14-year-old girl who was once the face of Akubra– Australia’s famous cowboy-style hat – has taken her own life after being harassed online, prompting calls by her family to “stop the bullies”.
The parents of Amy "Dolly" Everett, who appeared in a popular advertising campaign for Akubra when she was 8, said she was a “caring, beautiful soul” and expressed hope that her death would raise awareness about bullying and harassment.
Tick Everett, her father, said in a Facebook post that Amy had taken her life “to escape the evil in this world”. He did not reveal details of the bullying but appealed to those responsible to attend a memorial service for her in their home town of Katherine in outback central Australia.
“If we can help other precious lives from being lost and the suffering of so many, then Doll's life will not be wasted,” he wrote.
“If by some chance the people who thought this was a joke and made themselves feel superior by the constant bullying and harassment see this post, please come to our service and witness the complete devastation you have created.”
Akubra, which has been making its trademark wide-rimmed hats for more than a century, released a statement, expressing condolences and denouncing bullying.
“This is not an easy post to write,” said the statement.
“We were shocked and distressed to hear of the passing of "Dolly" - the young girl many of you will recognise from our past Christmas adverts… Bullying of any type is unacceptable. It is up to us to stand up when we see any kind of bullying behaviour.”
The statement added: “Dolly could be anyone's daughter, sister, friend... Be a friend, check up on your mates.”
Dolly’s death prompted an outpouring of support from friends, family and well-wishers across the country. Surveys in Australia have found about a quarter of students aged 8 to 14 have reported being bullied.
"Dolly, beautiful girl your death has been a tragedy that we didn't foresee but your memory will make changes happen," said a message on Facebook.