Australia: Patrick, 1967-79

Figure 1.--Here I am about 3 years old wearing one of the outfits my aunty made for me.

I have found HBC to be rather interesting. I thought you might be interested in another Australian account. I am now 40 years old and am going to tell you my personal account of my boyhood memories in and out of school. I grew up in part from an era of change in boys clothes during the 1960s-70s through 1980 when I was a 19-year old teenager. I was thus part of this historical process. We actually even here in South Australia shared many similar experiences with Americans. I was born in Port Pirie, South Australia in 1961 to a mechanic father and housewife mother of limited finances. Port Pirie is known as the port city/town for being the world's second largest lead smelters in the world. I attended a catholic primary school from 1967-75. It was in the northern wheatbelt area. The next school I was perceived to go to was a catholic boys school called 'Salesian College'. I feared for the worst (no girls), a blazer (what the heck was a blazer), hightly polished shoes, short hair policy (oh no), blue tie, grey vee neck jumper, boring English schoolboy style dark grey poliester/cotton trousers.


I am of Scottish descendant. My great great great grandfather came from Aberdeen in Scotland and was from the Clan Gordon. He was "transported" on board The Mary around 1849 for stealing a loaf of bread to feed his other younger siblings. He ended up in Perth, Western Australia and was apprenticed as a Combmaker and married an English girl. They moved to South Australia near the Flinders Ranges. Well he was a highlander and a Scot. He died aged 61 and had seven children.


I grew up in part from an era of change in boys clothes during the 1960s-70s through 1980 when I was a 19-year old teenager. I was thus part of this historical process. We actually even here in South Australia shared many similar experiences with Americans. I watched the same diet of American TV shows like the 1950's Lassie series, Leave It to Beaver, The Munsters, cowboy films, Walt Disney, tv movies and quality shows like My Three Sons, the Andy Griffith Show, Gentle Ben, and many, many others far to many to numerous to mention." We were fashion precursors to our sons, nephews, grandsons and today's general run of the mill boys in your or my neighbourhood running around being themselves. They exist in the great shadows of fashion whims and choice and the stylists of creativity from here to eternity. So good old wholesome USA is the kingpin of our fashion plate of tastes to suit the palate of mums and dads trying to do the very best for there offspring of sons, dodging and ducking jabs thrown by some really bad designers from the turn of the 20th centry to some of the flairs we boys were forced into in the 1970s, from the German helmet coiffures to the buzzcut namely. Boys of this time spand from say 1870s today will continue to suffer in silence because that is the nature of the beast called Boys Fashion. [HBC note: Patrick raises a interest question. One view of fashion is as Patrick suggests, something that is imposed upon boys. HBC notes, however, that boys themselves have had a hand in directing fashion. There are also other factors such as economic trends, technology (new fabrics), war, cultural influences, and a wide variety of other factors).

My Family

I was born in Port Pirie, South Australia in 1961 to a mechanic father and housewife mother of limited finances. Port Pirie is known as the port city/town for being the world's second largest lead smelters in the world.

My School Experiences

I remember being 5 years old and not wanting to wear a prep boy short trousers unifiorm to my first day because it was a convent school. I remember before I began school being very affraid of the teachers. They seemed very alien to me at the beginning. The nuns looked to me like Frankensteins in their black habits, they seemed to have no feet and seemed to glide along like a very british Dalek. They caused me to tremble and I wondered what my parents had in store for me' sending me to this Frankensteinian school and feeling like Eddy Munster in fact. My grandmother (Nana) actually chose my first uniform. She said I looked like a "little Briton boy," my blond hair, blue eyes and dimpled and rosey cheeks. Eventually I got used to the nuns. They were Italians and used to pinch me on the cheeks and talk to me in Italian (bambino e bello).

Home Clothes


Sometimes mum would have me wear a white crisp short sleeved collar shirt and a horrible navy blue tie with the elastic when she wanted to dress me up a bit. Some times I wore my light blue collar school shirt which added with a blue vest looked pretty cool at that time in my life.


I wore corduroy jeans and a pair of long leg blue shorts which were cut from my first cords' because the of those big torn holes in the knees. The 'new shorts' looked a bit like a corduroy pair of blue cargo short pants. Yeah shorts to wear all winter long even when I was not attending school, but I was only coming ten and was considered a little boy so who was I to complain. My younger brother next to me gave me hell that year because wore longs at home and I didn't.

I ran around in shorts but usually my old school ones like my grey short trousers from 1966-70, then square pinline patterned and plain grey/white/bone/brown/blue/bottle green/ khaki and soccer style buffalo brand which arrived on the scene in 1975 and were in blue/white/red/green/silver or grey/yellow and maraun and I used to swim in mine because they dried quicker in the mid summer' I had a red pair for soccer which I wore with a favourite Liverpool shirt which a school mate gave me because he wanted me the swap footy codes. [HBC note: That means changing football styles. Going from soccer to Australian Rules Football or vice versa.] I didn't but I still played during lunch time and occasionally only if a friend's team were a player or two short. I still love soccer today but I live in Australia remember and the sport is not as big as it is elsewhere.

I liked shorts with lots of pockets. I was a little boy in the 'Flyndurmahons' our little circle of boy spies with codes and secret documents that we hid all over Memorial Park in Port Pirie during our latter Primary school years.I wore my old prepstyle grey short trousers in grade 5 a few times because I could hide my codebook in the pockets or down my longleg grey short trousers'my Midfords were a tad shorter for the hiding of secret papers or codebooks.

My mum confirmed that in the early 1970s I wore a several pairs of flared trousers with a pair of black square toed shoes but still had very short hair. The dreaded german helmet hairstyle was about 3 years away. I remember a pair of grey checks and dark brown flares, but my aunty took in the brown ones and eventually they did turn into a long leg pair. One pair was turned into shorts because I caught the flared leg in my bike chain. I wore them with a brown polyester tropical shirt along with brown or white kneesocks. had a blue and brown blazer like jackets. I wore them to church with matching shorts or one in a blue moon with a pair of matching flares. God I hate flares.

I wore scalloped leg shorts from age 10 onwards as this was a popular style in my era of the early 1970s. My mum had me wear them under my nylon soccer shorts and I wore jeans and flare style jeans but my aunty took in the flare and sometimes turned them in to jeanshorts after I had worn out the knees. I wore my USA campshorts from age 14 till 16 and then I rebelled over the wearing of shorts of all styles of the 1970s. I wore most of the styles featured in your HBC 1970s Catalog Pages. Mum used to hide my longs in summer'spring and fall/autumn because she was sick to death of my silly 'shorts phobia'. I used to try and wear jeans or cotton slacks or corduroy trousers or my checked trousers or a tracksuit as well but mum sometimes made me wear my all blue acrylic or nylon knit blue footy shorts with side adjuster tabs and flyzip with my school logo blue t-shirt and blue kneesocks and yes at 14 I looked 11.


I also wore blue knee socks with three single white stripes on the tops which gave a boy of 10 a rather smart look. [HBC note: In america these were clled tube socks.]


Mom had me wear sandshoes or sandals.

Dressy Outfits

I remember one outfit I didn't like. For special occassion I spmetimes had to dress up in white longleg shorts, a light blue shirt, spotted bow tie, and kneesocks. I had and parted oiled short hair at the time. I was abour 14 at the time. My 11 year old cousin thought I was only 11 or 12 years old and in my often sullen moods. In this particular outfit I must have seemed like a 11 year old especially the turning of the foot in circular motion and I full of tantrums too just like the typical 10 year little boy wanting a sticky toffee or ice cream or fizzy drink and throwing a wobbly for not getting his favourite treat.


Well Nanna thought I looked the smartest at the big family get together at Christmas in the summer of 1971. [HBC readers: Remember Christmas in Australia happens during the summer.] I had to wear a blue bowtie with white dots on it' yes it was a present from my dad's posh younger sister. She bought me a pair of long white shorts like those seen in the oddball camp movies from the Usa. I didn't like them becaise I thought they looked a bit sissy. My mum had me changed into them along with very long knee socks. I hated the outfit, especially the white shorts, but mum and aunty smiled and presented me with a pair of new white plain tennis shoes which I hated too. But 71 was a bad year too because that was also the year I broke my left leg when a teenager ran into me with his bike.


I remember black and white drawings of clothing in the newspapers in the early 1960's in the local newspaper. My mum used to sit at the table talking about those fashion from the Port Pirie The Recorder. She would tell me and my younger brother that we were going to look so cute dressed in our new outfits. My dad's older sister was a dress maker and used to collect all the designs cutouts in womans and American homemaker type magazines. I remember getting outfitted in my little shorts suit and hating it immensely. I looked like a toffee nosed 4-year old with the combed up greasy hairdo and I put my fake smile on for mum because she was only trying to keep up with those other mums whose Catholic boys looked rather dapper in their shop bought fashion plate outfits. In the early days me and my brother did look up to date with our much richer peers because of Aunty.


My uncle's family was much better off than my family. I tried a cousin's red blazer from Rostrever in Adelaide and thought it looked great, infact I was peeved that I did not have one like it. At times I wished that I could go to a posh private school like he did. Eventually I went to Adelaide to visit my cousins.


While in Adelaide I met a rich kid and we rather hit it off well. His name was Trevor. He was a bit older than me. He invited me over his huge house to play because he seemed lonely and distant and had no friends to my knowledge. I saw his school blazer. It was a black one with the red Rostrever badge on the pocket. "You go to Rostrever 'wow thats great isn't it.' 'No not really cos I don't have many friends there' he said glumly.


I was a choirboy in the Saint Marks School choir from 1970-75. We usually wore our school uniform with our blue blazers or wore the Saint Marks Cathedral alterboy dress. That was a traditional black alterboy server robes with the white lace ourlay quite like the ones seen in American, Italian, and English films about Catholic or Anglican choirboys or other equally important churches of the Christian World. I loved singing as a small boy and I was told by many a parent that I was good enough for The Texas Boys Choir or even the famous Vienna Boys and UK choirs. I would not have minded at all at being trained as a musician or singer and travelling the globe doing what I love doing. My foundest memory of my boyhood was singing "Silent Night" and one other carol of which of now I've forgotten. It was a nativity play and Grantly, a friend in the choir, and I were chosen to sing for the school in our lunch shed. Some people filmed this little carol display but to this day I have never seen that footage but my old schoolmate Grantly has. A television station found out about our little song fest, but no one took it seriously and well nothing came of it. I did want to do traditional country as dad used to leave his old record albums lying around and I used to sing to them and I had a favourite old song called "Honey" by Bobby Goldsborough. I did not see a picture of this American singer but when I sang this song to my Nanna. It brought tears to her eyes and I will always cherish that memory because this fine lady is no longer with us because she died of cancer in 1981 and I still miss her even today.


I had a couple experiences with lederhosen as a boy. I wore a funky pair of Lederhosen to school for a "national" day and I was supposed to have worn them on a trip to Hahndorf, which is a small Germanic village town nestled in the Adelaide Hills here in South Australia. I caught a cold, however, and stayed at home in bed and a another boy wore them instead. I thought they were ok and a German boy I knew said I looked Austrian. I did wear them once to a theme night birthday party.

First Communion

I am a Catholic and when I made my first communion I wore a white cotton shirt, dark blue or black tie, with prep style grey short trousers, white or grey knee socks and black shoes. I think I wore a black wool jumper with no arms. Girls wore a little bridal type dress and veil.


I wore an all green Cub uniform with long leg shorts, short sleeve shirt, woggle, and neckerchief with green wool kneesocks and a green peaked cap with yellow quarter piping with motiff material badge. I was only with the Cubs for 6 months as I was dragged screaming into flippin' ballet for some 7 months. What a complete complex change of environment it was because I loved camping and the great outdoors/

Sports Gear

Cricket gear and soccer kits are very simular to the English style as is New Zealand rugby gear, but is a tad more modern nowadays. Aussie Rules started from black or white knickerbockers worn with the basic design Australian Football League (AFL) footy jumper and hose socks. This changed to black or white long cotton shorts in the 1920/30s through to a slower change to short black or white cotton Jonco Footy shorts in the 1950/60s. About 1975 more modern colours began to be used. New materials were used, Acrylics, rayon, nylon and cotton blends. Detailing became more popular. Side striping down the side became popular. During the 1980s and 1990s soccer type materials began to be used for Australian Football League (AFL) jumpers.

Hair Style

I had a variety of styles as a teenager. I came back from precamp in erly February 1976 with my short back and sides haircut and my mum kept my hair in a college cut in summer and a pageboy in winter. My younger brother wore long hair because my mum formed the opinion that a pageboy and a college cut suited her second special son who resembled her late father. As a younger teenager wore that pageboy cut lot. Then I wore my hair long. I then remember getting a buzz cut. This was a truely American style. A Mormon missionary or elder told me so. It was originally a college (university) hair cut style. It was usually very short at the back. My old school friend Lloyd, an American boy but living in Australia, told me that his brother in college, had this cut. He liked it and wanted one. So we had it done. My dad went ballistic, but let me be because 2 years later I had moppy long hair which annoyed him a lot. So I had this style once and thought it was cool except at the back of my head and upper neck with chilly winds of winter giving me goosebumps."


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Created: July 13, 2002
Last updated: Decmber 8, 2003