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Hand-me-down, Boomer

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Montrose Primary School - 1964

The week’s blazer of glory is hand me down clothes. The other extreme to Henry’s bejewelled manhood.

Montrose Primary School - 1964
Montrose Primary School – 1964

Some of you have great experiences of cool elder siblings that bought their first pair of Doc Martens at age 13, grew out of them and handed them down. You are probably still wearing them today. That’s great, I love your luck, but check your privilege cos there’s a bit of a content warning here. We are talking fashion crimes with a vengeance. I’m going to wind the clock back 55 years.

Boomer Heaven you think, or wall to wall boredom. Want to know what the sixties actually looked like, Check out the school photo on Insta, facebook or the web at

This is Australia in 1964. The golden years, the country has never been richer, full employment, families could afford a home. You know the story, Boomer Heaven.

You had everything, Boomer, and look what you’ve left us.

I remember those days well. The old school crowd – The first person you notice is Julie Fleming, with the eyepatch and the very clean white, second hand jumper. Lots of hand knits in evidence, and lots of those hand knits had been through a couple of kids.

I know that because I saw the same jumpers go ’round and around like the proverbial cow in a hurricane. Hiding an 800 year old vampire in a bunch of school kids is quite difficult, so adopted the form of Miss Armstrong – an earlier Trunchbull. If Roald Dahl had ever been to Australia I would have thought he’d met me, and modelled the Trunchbull on my Armstrong. I know he didn’t because I would have made him an ancient, for sure.

The Armstrong was no joke. The strap was de-rigeur, I only applied it when I thought it appropriate. Besides the corporal punishment rules were closing in. Six straps on each hand in any three hour period was the limit when that photo was taken. One of the challenges in spanning the centuries is that you sometimes lose track of the social mores of the time.

But the blazer of glory?

The story of biscuit boy. The hand-me-down school blazer.

As far as I know … and I taught there for fifty years, until it became suspicious that I was not ageing. As far as I know, the biscuit blazer was the only …


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