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School 824 : Uniform (or lack thereof)


Perhaps a little out of sequence, but seeing Preston Tech's school uniform got a mention, perhaps it is relevant to mention that there wasn't one at South Preston as any of the many class photos that bob up from time to time on social media sites will attest.

The Tech. colours were maroon with blue and gold stripes on the V-neck and cuffs of the jumper and blazer, the latter with a PTS monogram on the breast pocket. The colours were almost certainly derived from the Fitzroy Football Club guernsey - the Preston Football Club wore a maroon top with navy blue "knicks" during its first stint in the Victorian Football Association from 1903 to 1911 before adopting red-and-white when it returned to junior ranks.   I think Northcote High's were green with gold trimming, matching the official City of Northcote colours and that of the football club.

(I can’t recall the Technical School’s “A’ or “Z” colours, but guess they were alternates of maroon and blue.  There was a short-lived College competition in later years and Preston was identical to the Fitzroy jumper except for the PTC monogram instead of FFC - so identical in fact that I played nearly half-a-game with Fitzry Thirds wearing the Tech jumper of accidentally pulling it out of my bag while changing. It took a sharp-eyed trainer to pick out the problem when he was told to take a message out to number 2 and discovered there were two of us)!

The question of uniforms appears to have been left to individual schools - it was matter of some debate at the time across Victoria on the merits of standard uniforms for State schools - one argument being that they eliminated "class" differences, the other obviously the cost to parents.  

Just before the 1952 school year started, The Argus ran an article highlighting the costs where uniforms were mandatory - the basic wage was then £10/9/-, the average for girls, (blazer, tunic, frock, hat, three blouses, four pairs of socks, pullover, tie and shoes) was £16/5/- for state schools and a whopping £27/8/- for non-state; boys (blazer, shorts, three shirts, four pairs of socks, pullover, cap, tie and shoes) was considerably less at £7/11/- and £24/8/- respectively.

South Preston obviously a "come-as-you-are"policy, but I think that on the couple of days each year when Education Department Inspectors visited the school, some pressure might have been applied by staff for "Sunday Best".

Given the school had a football team; I guess there must have been associated colours, but no recollection thereof.  Mum's hand-knitted League footy jumpers were however part-and-parcel of the mix at the usual school assembly and long pants were virtually unheard of, even in the depths of winter!