School Days Part Six


Continuing on from getting to Secondary School we had to be at all times a credit to the school's image. To be reported as violating that image however slightly meant someone must have dobbed you in so they wouldn't be caught doing the same


Uniforms: Williamstown High had a strict code of uniforming its students. For the girls it was- Summer navy blue and white check dresses, white collars, long white socks and solid lace up shoes, straw hat with navy blue ribbon band and biased rim. Winter- wide box pleat navy blue tunics with belt, white socks and solid shoes, white blouses, navy blue jumper V neck, monogramed or not, navy blue beret. Summer and winter these outfits were accompanied by a heavy long sleeved blazer that reached thigh length and monogramed pocket on blazer of an anchor and school motto of (it’s a bit hazy but…) Hold Fast or something like that. The boys wore grey trousers, short in summer, long in winter (at least until Form Two or Year Eight) and grey shirt, navy tie and socks (more practical than white socks that the girls were subjected to). Summer and Winter no matter what the temperature we were expected to wear full uniform outside the school grounds and to conduct ourselves in a manner that would give pride to the name Williamstown High School. That meant blazers on, berets on, skirts at full length to well below the knees and navy gloves. No thick tights for our freezing legs during the bitter windy days of winter and no relief from the blazing summer sun during the summer months except for lighter skirts and broad brim straw hats. Of course as girls would, when they started noticing boys and fashions the strict dress code, adjust the length of skirt a little with the hitching of tunic over the belt so the skirt length was shortened, the beret or straw hat set at an angle that showed off one’s best features, the blazer removed and folded neatly over one arm in readiness of sighting the teacher on street duty; to be flicked over the shoulders like a cape with the appearance of being fully on; and the school bag returned by the boy who was privileged enough to carry it for his young lady. Forms One and Two (Grades 7 and 8) though were only at the beginning of puberty and boys being a little slower at moving through that process were still more likely to ‘rough house’ each other or be more interested in football or other contact sports than the spotty, dumpy, scraggly girls that had been their ‘pals’ or ‘mates’ during Primary school; even if they were starting to shape a bit more female than the straight up and down, but with long hair, creatures of Grade 6. Of course there were the exceptions; those girls that were petite or pretty as Primary school students, usually with parents who were academics or higher educated, who lived in own owned houses or with small mortgages, whose parents took their girls to dance classes or had modern ideas about good upbringing; or were just blessed with naturally good looks and health and blossomed through puberty with not a single pimple or one ounce of extra fat. These girls were destined to go far in the world. They didn’t even have to be brainy, in fact they knew it best to hide their academic skills from the insecurity of the male ego, no matter how young the male at the time. No such luck for me though. Puberty was a horror for me in High school. An early ‘bloomer’ those wonderful, compulsory school uniforms did nothing to enhance my confidence or my prowess with the boys even if I was ever interested in boys ‘in that way’. They certainly weren’t interested in me. The blazer only made me look bigger. The tunic when hitched up over the belt only made me look more like a sack of potatoes tied in the middle than it did left at full length. Then the tunic accentuated the fact that I was a short, dumpy, misfit, still tripping over myself and other people as I struggled through those early High school years.

As it was only ten years after the Second World War military training was still encouraged in high schools. Willie High was no exception. The older boys from Grades 9, 10, 11 and 12 were encouraged to join the military cadets within the school. Military training was like a junior Citizens Military Force where they were decked out in army uniforms and gear left over from the Second World War and the more recent Korean War that had just finished. Leaders in the group, mostly school prefects or boys that were expected to go on to military academies to become Officers in an armed forces career, won their stripes early and became junior officers in the school corp. They were even intrusted with army rifles and had weekend camps where more extensive military training would occur such as learning to drive trucks and even tanks. Much was the time that I wished I was a boy so I could look forward to going on adventures as these older boys got to go on. They were never short of admirers from the girls in the upper classes either.

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Last updated: 10/04/2017


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