I have finally heard back from Aust Quarantine Information Service in regard to a encounter with an inspector at 3.50am Darwin aroport around 6 weeks ago.
I was asked why I had not written on my declaration form that I was bringing a woven hat into Australia. I looked at the officer in disbelief that I was being asked about the ancient thing hanging from my wrist. My hat is around 16 years (I do love it) and has been to Bali and other destinations many, many times in those years. It had never occured to me that I should declare it on the forms we are given onboard to fill in re any potential items of concern being brought into Australia.
My husband and I had always thought that what we took out with us and then brought back in was okay, especially since the hat was either on my head or in an airconditioned room on any of these trips. Alas we have been wrong all these years and everything in your suitcase that you took out, that can potentially be infested has to be declared, ie straw hat, shoes with wood in the base etc, any wooden dingle dangles you may have on a key ring, hair clip and I would imagine a 2B pencil!
I have always been very careful not to ever bring anything back that was a problem or illegal and now I will consider very closely what I'm taking out, because it's going to take forever to check all of this when we are coming back in, now that I know I've been breaking the law all of this time. It certainly never occured to us that they were asking about these items and we always took it to mean what we were bringing into Australia from elsewhere.