Here in Victoria, today is the first day of school for the year. Lots of kids will be starting kinder/pre-school, lots will be starting primary school or high school, for some it will be their final year of either primary or high school. Of course, let’s not forget those starting the next grade, or even at a new school. I’ve been the new kid at a new school before – my final year of VCE. That was a daunting experience walking into the year 12 common room; a room exclusively for final year high school students and their lockers, which was greater than the whole student body at my old school. It’ll be a little while until I experience the first school day of the year as a parent, but I do remember walking into my classroom for the very first time as an almost 6 year old in 1990.
When mum recalls my first day of school, it involves me telling her I didn’t need her to walk me to my classroom: I knew where it was, I knew the name of my teacher; classic little miss independent. I don’t have a picture of me on my first day, but I do have a class photo from 1991. That’s me down front, second from the right, age almost 7. I say almost 7 because there are quite a few skivvies (turtlenecks) under jumpers, not to mention that every child bar two is wearing a jumper. My birthday is at the end of winter, so unless it’s a cold spring day, I’m betting this photo was taken before August (which is the end of winter here in the southern hemisphere).
Among the sea of brown and gold that was our uniform, there are two Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles jumpers, a tri-colour parachute jacket, neon parachute pants as stand-out items. Twenty-four years later TMNT and neon sure are back with a vengeance.
Twenty years earlier, in 1971, I don’t think neon really featured as a part of school photos.
This is my mum’s class photo. Points to you if you noticed we went to the same school. My London-born father loved Drysdale so much, my parents settled there. The black and white photo make it difficult to tell what colours were in fashion in Drysdale in 1971, but it looks like my mum is wearing printed shorts, a sleeveless top with a pattern or patterned cut out, and a head band (that’s her on the left end in the middle row). Janet (front right end) and a few other girls in the front row have their socks pulled up with sandals. Boys wear collared shirts either under knitted jumpers or on their own.
The above image is from the archives of the State Library of South Australia, circa 1940s. Sun dresses for girls, shorts and shirts for boys. Sun hats are optional it would appear, unlike today. For more images from the archives, click the image. I can’t guarantee this is a school excursion but the woman in the image looks like an authoritative figure, and the children look to be school aged.
What did you wear when you went to school?