Objects of Substance- Hat

Hats off to Grammar girls

2013 Hat Throw

One of the most iconic Girls Grammar images is the navy blue velour hat. It has been used on banners, photographed from all angles, thrown into the air at Speech Day celebrations in King George Square and is embodied in a keyring, gifted to Year 12 girls at the Valedictory Dinner by the P&F Association. So, what is the story of the blue hat? To go bareheaded was simply not proper in the late nineteenth century. Hats (and gloves) were crucial to the respectable appearance of women which is why, when the School opened in 1875, its new pupils would not have left their houses without a hat. Over time, although the intent has changed, wearing a hat has always been an essential part of a Grammar girl’s uniform. The hat has evolved from something deemed appropriate and fashionable to a visual representation of the School’s identity. Mrs Helen Spence (1908) recalled that ‘in my day pupils never wore uniforms. Just their ordinary frocks, large shady mushroom hats, with a pretty ruching around the crown. Before we left school for home we had to put on our hats and gloves—otherwise we were kept in.’ This tradition of uniform inspection at the front gate is also familiar to the modern Grammar girl. Mrs Beryl Cramb (1926) wrote in her recollections that, in 1923 or 1924, Miss Annie Mackay, Head Mistress at the time, permitted two girls from each class to meet in the front right-hand corner classroom of the Main Building. Here students voted to have a school uniform. It was decided that the uniform would include a rounded panama hat with a hatband in summer and a navy blue felt hat with a hatband in winter. These two hats continued through the 1960s.

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