** Australian school uniform : Individual Schools

Australian School Uniform: Individual Schools

Figure 1.--This private school in Melbourne has a very traditional English-styled uniform. The boys wear grey short pants suits. During the day the boys take off their suit jackets and wear just the sweaters with the colored trim on the neck and cuffs. Their knee socks also have black-colored trim.

HBC is collecting infrmation on individual Australian schools. The uniforms at these different schools help to show the different uniform standards at different kinds of schools. Uniforms were very common in Australia, but there is no national uniform or standard. Each school chose its own uniform. Thus there was considerable variation from school to school. Some school uniform garments were partocularly common and worn at different schools. This will help highlight schoolwear trends and regulations over time as well as provide a way of comparing uniforms in different countries. HBC is just beginning to build this section. Hopefully HBC's Australian readers will provide some information on their schools. We will eventually create a chronological section.


Aberdale Boys' Grammar School New South Wales)

We do not know a great deal about the history of the Aberdale Boys Grammar School. I'm nor sure what the rules were at first, but became a selective school which required good scores on the 11-plus examination tyo enter. This was the same systen as in Britain.It was founded in 1896. It seems to have been a very small school when initially founded. The uniform appears to have been at first rather flexible, but by the 1950s was quite formal.

All Saints Grammar (New South Wales)

This private grammar school in New South Wales is run by Greek Australians. It has both a junior and senior section. They have a very traditional uniform complete with boaters. Even the seniors wear the boaters, but they do wear long trousers. The boys and girls wear a similar uniform with the boys wearing long and short pants and the girls wearing skirts. The uniform consists of the following.


Beebo State School (Queensland)

The photo shows pupils and teachers at Beebo State School in 1899. Beebo is a little village about 300 kms. South West of Brisbane. Probably the village had a one-room school. The photo shows an actitude toward bare feet different from that we can see in Australian school photos during 20th century. At least a boy and a girl are barefoot. However the boys is in the second row and a branch is placed in front of the girl to hide her feet. It seems that the conventions about bare feet are British rather Australian.

Bilambil Public School (New South Wales)

Here we see an image of the Bilambil Public School in New South Wales during 1970. It looks to be a small rural primary school. There is no uniform. The girls wear dresses. The boys wear open collared shirts and T-shirts with shorts. The children all seem to be barefoot.

Bundaberg Rural Primary School (Queensland)

This is one of the mll rural primary in the Bundaberg Region of Queensland (northeastern Australia). Ausrlian agriculture was extensive, Thi means that the popilation dnity wa especially role. Asaresult there were quite a numbr of very small one-room primaries. This is a good example of these schools. We see aone room school in 1955. It shows a standard one-room school. Deveral of the students wear the basic school summer uniform worn throughout New Zealand, although it was apparently not requird. The boys wear lihjht-weight cotton grey shirts and shorts, Two of the girls wear white blouses and gym frocks which Americans call jumpers. All the pupils are barefoot, probably as they spent the whole summertime which in senitropical Quensland meant most of the year.


Christain Brothers College (South Australia)

Christain Brothers College (CBC) in Adelaide is a Catholic school. The school has a purple blazer with white border braiding. It now has blue longleg fingertip length style shorts with belt loops and pockets with metal clasps or fasteners. The blue polo shirt has purple and white hoop pinstripes and blue kneesocks or normal kneesocks and ankle socks. Pulteney still has their old summer strip being grey short trousers'purple and white verticle pin striped shirt, grey kneesocks, black shoes, and purple school traditional blazer with school badge.

Chillingham Public School (New South Wales)

We do not know much about thr Chillingham Public School, exceot that it was located in Chillijgham, New South Wales. This means that it was located in southeastern Australia. Chillingham was not a major city and we do not know just where in ther state it was located. The school was a state primary school. Beyond this basic infirn=mation wee know nothing about the school. We do have several photographs from the school over time.


Eagle Farm School (Queensland)

Australia began building a state schol system (mid-19th century). At the time there were only about 20 public schools, initially called state schools. One of the first was the Eagle Farm School founded near Brisbaine in Queensland (1864). The school began with 47 children and had 89 by the end of the first year. The land was donated by Mr Westaway. Some of the parents donated money to build the school. The school inspector described it as 'one of the handsomest and most commodious schools in the colony.' Most of the children were of German descent and public schools had become a tradition in Germany before theyh were well estanlished in Britain or the Dominions. Many od the students did not speak English as a first language, but apparently made good progress. The school was remamed the Hendra State School and is still operating today. We note a photograph of the school footy team in 1955.

Ernabella Presbyterian Mission School (South Australia)

Ernabella is an isolated Aboriginal community located north of Adelaid close to the Northern Territory border. The community bis now called Pukatja. The Presbyterian Church established a mission there (1938). Dr. Charles Duguid was the central figure in the establisdhment of the mission. He helped established Ernabella with a new enlightened attitude toward the Aboriginees. A central principle at Ernabella was that there was to be no force or other compulsion. The Eurioean Australian life style was not to be imposed on the Aborigines. The staff at the mission were chosen bevause they possessed needed skills and they were not to interfere with tribal traditions and customs. This can be seen at vthe school where the children did not have to wear clothese when they attended school. The staff was required to learn the tribal language. The local Anangu people on their own began coming in from the near desert Bush to live at the Mission. There the Anangu people could maintain their cultural traditions, but had access to medical care and education, all on a voluntary bsis. , with no conditions attached. The Presbyterian Church turned over responsibility for the Ernabella Mission, including the school, to the Ernabella Community Council (1974). It is now the Pukatja Community Council.


Fairbridge Farm Schools (Western Australia and New South Wales)

Kingsley Fairbridge and his wife Ruby arrived in Albany, Western Australia, from England (1912). They settled in Pinjarra to open the world's first Fairbridge Farm School. Their objective was to aid needy children from low-income families. Thet wanted to see, "little children shedding the bondage of bitter circumstances and stretching their legs and minds amid the thousand interests of the farm." Fairbridge Farm School was a school for migrant children. The Fairbridge organisation was founded to oversee a child migration scheme for underprivileged British children (1912). The children were sent to Australia, Canada, and Rhodesia (Zimbabwe). Parents had to sign over legal guardianship of their children for the promise of a better life in Commonwealth countries. The children were trained to be 'farmers and farmers´┐Ż wives'. The program opened a farm school near Pinjarra in southwest Western Australia (1913-82). The school assisted some 3,580 children whoarrived under various child migration schemes. The school provided education in vocational task-learning, husbandry, metal work and wood work. The School during World War II provide services to Dutch refugee children evacuated from the Dutch East Indies (modern Indonesia). They were cared for at Fairbridge while waiting to be reunited with their families. During the War, Fairbridge was also used as a training ground for the Women's Land Army. In addition, Guildford Grammar School was partially relocated there while their school was used as a hospital base. An airfield was constructed and operated from the school during the Second World War until the 1950s. A second Fairbridge Farm School was opeed near Molong in New South Wales (1938 until 1974). About 1,000 boys and girls passed through this school. In recent years disturbing reports have emerged about child abuse as well as inedble food and minimal eucation.


Hopevale School (Queensland)

Many Australian primary schools have uniforms, often very casual uniforms. Quite a number of schools do not require any uniform at all. Here we have a photograph of two siblings at the gate of the Hopevale State School, in the Cooktown area, Queensland. Hopevale is an Aboriginal community. The school did not require a uniform.

Hunter Valley School (New South Wales)

The Hunter Valley is a region of New South Wales, approximately 160 kilometres north of Sydney, Australia. Now there is an approximate population of 700,000 people, most of which live in the Newcastle metropolitan area. There are also numerous other towns and villages scattered across the valley. The valley is most commonly known for its wineries and coal industry. It is the valley of the Hunter River, one of the major eastwards-flowing rivers of South-Eastern Australia. We have a photograph from the Hunter Valley School in the 1920s. At the time it seems to have been a small rural school.


Ipswich Grammar School (Queensland)

Ipswich Grammar School is an independent, non-denominational, boys' day and boarding school. It is located in Ipswich, a city along the Bremer River in South East Queensland. The Queensland Government was intent on creating a secondary school system. Queensland's first parliment passed the the Grammar Schools Act (1860). The Act led to the founding of 10 grammar schools. There was a debate at the time over the religious foundation of the schools. Queensland Grammar School was founded as a non-denominational school (1863). It was the first secondary school in Queensland. There were 16 boys attending on the first day. The original school building became known as the Great Hall. The nodern chool is located on the Grammar School Hill the original buildings at the crown of the hill. The school today operates a kindergarten (prep), primry and secondary program to over 1,000 boys. Most of the students are day boys, but there are about 100 boarders.

Ironside State School (Queensland)

The Ironside State School is a primary school located in St Lucia. This is a suburb of Brisbane, Queensland. We have a school portrait from 1968. It shows a 6th grade class which would be the last year of primary. The school has a mandatory uniform. The girls wear checked dresses looking rather like gym frocks. The boys wear light-weight shirts and shorrt pants. This was a very common summer uniform for boys in Australia. The children in 1968 were allowed to attend in bare feet. In the photo half of the boys in the front row are barefoot. On the contrary no girl in the second row is barefoot. This once was very common in Australia, but is now much less common. The dress code in 2009 states that pupils can wear black shoes, sneakers or sandals.


Kings School (New South Wales)

The Kings School is an Anglican boarding school locarted in Parramatta New South Wales. It is the oldest private boys school in Australia. The school was founded in 1831. An Australian reader tells us that it would be the equivalent of a U.S Military Academy. The educational program, however, seems to follow that of a traditional English prep school. The boys wear, however, a very destinctive uniform. Originally the uniform had reversed colors from the modern uniform. It was the same design, but but with grey trousers and a navy blue tunic both with the red trim. The metal buttons are embossed with the school crest. It is perhaps the most destinctive school uniform in Australia. I do not know if there are caps. They have destinctively styled blazers with a military look. The military features include epaulets, flap pockets, a belt element at the back and red embroidery on the sleeves. They wear dark blue or black shorts with a red military looking strip. The knee-length shorts help to date the image to about 2000. The kneesocks have two different widths of grey bands, matching the jackets. All wear black leather shoes. The school has a used clothing shop called the Clothing Pool.

Kobble Creek State School (Queenslabsd)

We note a photograph of the photo was taken at Kobble Creek State School, Queensland, in 1914. This was a rural primary school. In the back there is a great Union Jack which tells you a lot as to how the community saw itself. The school looks rather like a rural American school at the time, except that none of the boys are wearing overalls. The children sre all barefoot.

Koonung Secondary College (Victoria)

Koonung Secondary College is in Victoria Australia. The uniform consist of a blue blazer which is optional a blue rain jacket, blue jumper, a blue school tie which is also optional, a white shirt, and grey trousers and grey short pants. The blazer and the jumper and rain jacket have the school logo on it. Not many boys wear the blazer and the rain jacket is more common. The reason why not many boys wear the blazer is because of the cost and because this is a goverment school it is not mandotory. A lot boys and girls do wear the ties. Many state schools do not have as strict uniform requirements.


Lord Howe Island Central School (Island: Tasman Sea)

Lord Howe Island is a small island in the Tasman Sea, 600 kilometres east of the Australian mainland, with about 350 inhabitants. Lord Howe Island Central School has been operating since 1879. The school currently has approximately 30 students (1st-6th grades). There is no secondary school on the Island. High school students can attend the school, but there are no classes above the 6th grade level. The students are enrolled in a distance education program. The other choice for the older children is to attend boarding schools in Sydney or Brisbane. Most of the pupils go to school by bike. The school like many Australian schools has a compulsory, but very basic uniform. The climate has no great changes trough the year, so the uniform is always the same. The footwear are not part of the uniform. It seems that many children attend basrefoot, but they wear shoes if they so desire.

Lower Yarraman (Queensland)

We notice a rural primary school at Lower Yarraman in 1908. The town is located in Queensland, inland from Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast. This is a portrait of the children at the school in 1908. The eight children covr the full range of primary education from about 6-13 years of age. The young lady teachers stands at the rear with the older girls. The girls all wear long dresses, and the teacher an even longer dress. Some of the dresses are similar, suggesting sisters. We notice both colored and white dresses worn with black long stockings. The outnumbered boys wear knee pants suits. The suits are intresting given the warm Queensland climate. We see a Fauntleroy lace collar, a small Eton collar, and a sailor outfit. Two of the boys are barefoot. The youngr boy wears black long stockings like his sister. The footwear is varies. We see low-cut and hifg-cut lace ups and strap shoes. A similar American photograph would hve shown mostly high-tops for both boys and girls. They are posed on a school bench in front of their school which looks rather like a rural house. Notice the the coats and bags hang on hook on the porch, the only suggestion that the building is a school and nit a house.


Merbein State School

We have found some cabinet cards of the students posed in front of the school building at the Merbein State School about 1918. It was a primary school and is probbly a good representive of Australian state schools in the 1910s. The younger and older students are posed separately with their teachers in front of the newly constructed school building. There look to be about 150 children. Looking throufg the windows inside the school building, the school does not seem to be separated into the 8 grade (form) classrooms. Unfortunately we cannot read what the board a student is hoilding. Merbein on the Murray River is set in an agricultutal area. It is the most northern Victoria town and was made possible by an irrigation project (1909). The photographs we have come after bouyt a decade. It was originally known as White Cliffs for its river cliffs. Until the irrigion it was pastoral land. It became vineyard and orchard area.


Newtown School (South Australia)

This class portrait shows the 5th grade at the Newtown School in Australia during 1958. Newton was a middle-class suburn ofAdelaide. The children would have been about 11 years old. It is quite a large group, about 55 vhildren. That would have been difficulr\t for the poor lady teacher pictured with them to teach. Perhaps there were two 5th grade ckasses, although we have read that that there was a shortage of teachers in Australia during the 1950s and 60s. The school would have been a state primary. The school had a unform which most of the children wore. Many of the children wear "V"-neck sweaters, ties, and knee socks. The girls wear gym slips or skirts. The boys wear shortpants. Several children do not wear the uniform. This suggests that it was optional, but given the level of compliance ot looks like the staff did strongly promote the uniform.


Pulteney Grammar (South Australia)

Pulteney Grammar School (Anglican) is located in Adelaide It has the the same uniform as the Christian Brother's College except instead of purple they have a black blazer with white braiding.. CBC had grey or blue short trousers with a white or blue and white pinstriped shirt with blue and white tie'blue blazer with school badge, white or grey kneesocks, black shoes, blue or grey vee neck jumper, and wide brimmed blue cloth hat.


Redfield College (New South Wales)

Redfield College is a relatively new independent (private) boys school. Redfield was founded in Wahroonga with 40 boys in Years 3 to 5 and three teachers. It offers an academic program for Years 2 to 12. The College was founded by a group of parents. The school uses a unique tutorial system with astrong emphasis on family values. The College reports their students achieve excellent results on the HSC. The curriculum places a special emphasis on history, modern language, and broad cultural development. The College has Catholic foundation and an a study of the Catholic Faith is offered, but not required. We note boys during their First Communion in 1991. Like many Australian and New Zealand schools, there is an active school camp program.

Roebourne Primary School (Western Austraia)

The Roebourne Primary School is a small primary located at Roebourne, a small town in Western Australia. The school is attended by many Aboriginie children as well as some children of European origins. The school has programs especially focused on native culture. I'm not sure when the school was founded and his special program adopted. The uniform is a green t-shirt with the school logo.

Royal Australian Air Force School (Malaysia)

The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) as part of Australia's defense policy maintained bases in several Commonwealth countries, primarily in Southeast Asia. Ausrtralia was a signatory of the South East Asian Treaty Organisation (SEATO). The RAAF initially had a limited commitment at Butterworth Field. There were only a small number of dependants. When more RAAF personnel were assigned to the base, an Interim School was established in a vacant home (August 1958). The school served children from infants to secondary level. The secondary students worked on correspondence courses. The staff of female teachers was recruited from wives of servicemen - mostly RAAF but some Army wives as well. The RAAF School at Butterwirth in 1965 had the uniforms seen here (figure 1). The boys wore monogramed white shirts which because of the heat were worn with open collars. They had matching white shorts and white kneesocks. The girls wore white dresses.


Scotch College (Unknown)

Scotch College was founded after World War I as a living memorial to educate the "sons of Scotland" who had served in World War I (1914-18). There are several Scotch Colleges in Australia and we are not sure which one this is. The College thus began as a boys' school as was the basic pattern for secondary schools at the time. The College was created by an Act of Parliament (1922). Gratton House which is now used by the Middle School, was originally built as a memorial to 57 Collegians who died in World War II. Entrance was eventually opened to all Australians and not just those of Scottish ancestry or the sons of veterans. The College became coeducational (1972). The College is associated with the Uniting Church and is administered by a Council of Governors. The College offers a broad, liberal education based on Christian principles. It is a full-term school educating children from pre-school through secondary school. Boarding is offered for children from Years 7 to 12. The school's Scottish heritage is shown by the active pipe band.

Springsure State School (Queensland)

We do not have many Australian school images from the 19th century. This photograph shows the pupils attending Springsure State School in 1884. Springsure is a small town in Queensland. The children seem to be all girls. They all wear dresses without pinafores. We are guessing that there were also boys at the school, but they were phoyographed separately. This was a little unusual. Springsure seems tob small to have had a seoarate school.


Tenison Woods College (South Australia)

The photo shows the athletic team of Tenison Woods College, a Catholic private school in Mount Gambier, South Australia. The photo was taken in 1930s or early 1940s. The boys are wearing the sport uniforms: white sleeveless shirts with school logo and dark shorts. Nobody wear shoes, but I don't know if bare feet were compulsory.


Unidentified Tasmanian High School

Here we have a high school class in Tasmania, Australia, taken in 1911. The school is all boys. Single gender secondary schools were standard at the time. The High School boys seem to the younger boys at the school. Boys in Australia following the British system began secondary school at about age 12. The boys here look like the first or second form at the school. Most of the boys seem to be wearing suits with Eton collars. Some of the suits have waistcoasts, some have Norfolk styling, and one boy even wears just a sweater (see middle of the front row of standing boys). Many of the boys wear peaked caps, the standard headwear for British school boys at the time and thus wideky worn in the Dominions as well. One in the back wears a flat cap. All the boys we can see wear knee pants with long black stockings. This probably includes even the boys whose legs we can't see, because it was customary for high school boys in 1911 to wear knee pants up to the ages of 16 and 17 and, in some conservative areas, throughout the high school years. Only the younger boys have bear knees. Note the boys sitting cross-legged in the front row, wearing knee socks, and even here, two of the boys wear long stockings. At least four of the masters are visible--one with a bowler hat at the left and another with a black beard and mustache at the right. The figure in the third row (extreme right) with his hand on his hips might be a master, but he could also be one of the older boys, about age 18. Two boys, fourth and fifth from the left in the second row, seem to be wearing knickers with black stockings. Knee pants, however, are obviously dominant.


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Created: January 4, 2001
Last updated: 3:54 AM 12/13/2021