Objects of Substance- The Swim Coat

The Swim Coat: A Relic of a Bygone Era

Brockway Cup and McWhirter Cup Teams, 1939 School Magazine

By 1875, swimming for women and girls was a more acceptable activity and, while women were still restricted by excessive layers of clothing, segregated swimming times allowed for greater freedom in both attire and activity. Thus, experiences provided for girls and young women widened. This held true for Girls Grammar; however, one significant event became the catalyst for incorporating swimming into the School’s curriculum. This was the sinking of the RMS Quetta, a three-decked steamer bound for England on 28 February 1890. The BGGS community was directly affected by this tragedy as past students Anne and Isabel Wight (1881 and 1878) were on board the sinking ship. As a result of the tragedy, Sir Charles Lilley donated prizes for competitive swimming and the minting of the Wight Memorial Medal for Music. Photographs of the swimming and lifesaving teams for the School Magazine were typically taken in school uniform. However , in 1939, both Brockway Cup (swimming) and McWhirter Cup (lifesaving)

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