Times and schools of the distant past

HGHS Speech Day in the Great Hall - Year unknown

Who says you can't learn things on Facebook? Well okay, you probably won't learn much of use, but a couple of weeks ago while possibly avoiding the need to study for some rather important exams I decided to read through my high school's group on Facebook instead and discovered that not only had the girls in the school worn white gloves in the past, but also berets or blue caps along with the summer straw hats and white dresses to the annual Speech Days instead of full school uniform, as well as how the Old Girls had done things in the past like if there had been a hole or run in their stockings, they would have inked their leg and hoped the stockings didn't shift during the day.

Many of the students at school had muttered amongst ourselves at how our selective high school was in some ways a 'wannabe private school' because of the introduction of the straw hat and the blazer in the first couple of years I joined the school. I could definitely see how, but it was clear that the straw hat has a much longer history even though the look of it has inevitably changed, as well as the make.

My former high school hosts a number of concerts every year, and one of them is called Lipsync, where we - as you can no doubt tell - lipsync to songs and dance on the stage in our school hall for a night of celebration. One year when we were all in Year 10 about to move into senior school, into the mystical year 11, a group of friends and I thought our potato-sack-like fawn coloured school uniforms and straw hats resembled that of the students in Madeline closely and thus put on a gaily performance, of course equipped with white cotton gloves. They were attractive and even the school principal mentioned afterwards he thought they should be reinstated because they worked so well with the uniform. Well that has been a wish ever since, but of course we're past those days.


The straw hat never really went with the almost entirely navy ensemble of the winter school uniform though, but I can see how now. Of course no doubt the student body would have complained at yet another expense - compulsory or not, usually not - but it would have made for an attractive look anyway.

Not all schools have a long history, some have longer ones, some shorter ones. When I started attending there, in my second year we celebrated the 75th anniversary of the school. Regardless it's interesting to see the photos and relics of those who attended the same school you attended, yet 40 years before yourself, and see what has both changed and what hasn't at all, apart from new coats of paint.

The most interesting thing I remember though, was a portrait of staff from 1992 in the hallway where there was a staff member I recognised easily. It was strange to think that he'd been working in my high school for 15 or more years. He wasn't a great teacher, per se, but he'd seen us all come and go.

Madeline image from Politico.