Green’s Dictionary of Slang

hat v.1

[hatter n.1 ]

(Aus.) to live by oneself in a remote area.

[Aus]H. Lawson ‘That Pretty Girl on the Army’ in Roderick (1972) 488: When a man drops mateship altogether and takes to ‘hatting’ in the Bush, it’s a step towards a convenient tree and a couple of saddle-straps buckled together.
[Aus](con. 1830s–60s) ‘Miles Franklin’ All That Swagger 352: They could combine the freedom of hatting with adjacence to a home and did not make off as formerly from any community where women appeared.