Ready to relive romper days

19:02, Dec 16 2012
Dawn Neal
Remembering the old school days: Organising committee members for Marlborough Girls’ College’s 50th anniversary next year, from left, Dawn Neal, Sharyn Simpson, Mary Griffiths and Sue Molony.

Romper suits, panama hats and white gloves are a few of the uniform set pieces that spring to mind for members of the Marlborough Girls' College 50th anniversary organising committee.

Committee members Dawn Neal, Mary Griffiths, Sue Molony and Sharyn Simpson revisited their school days as well as the school this week.

They have been organising the college's 50th anniversary celebrations for the past 18 months, said Mrs Simpson, the organising committee chairwoman who also headed the committee for the college's 25th anniversary.

The celebrations will take place during Queen's Birthday Weekend next year.

All of the women attended the college in its first decade, the 1960s, and spoke of the huge changes they had seen in the school grounds and uniforms.

"We used to have to wear the most revolting PE [physical education] outfits, funny one-piece things - rompers they called them," said treasurer Mrs Neal.


Mrs Griffiths recalled having to wear a hat and gloves - white gloves and a panama hat during the summer and a beret in winter.

"You weren't allowed out anywhere without a hat and gloves," she said.

There had also been a substantial shift in young women's career choices.

"Girls weren't geared towards careers as they are now," Mrs Neal said. "It was usually either teaching or nursing back then."

Celebrations for the Marlborough Girls' College 50th anniversary will take place between the college and Marlborough Convention Centre in Blenheim from Friday, May 31 to Sunday, June 2 2013.

The programme includes an afternoon tea with teachers and staff past and present, followed by a cocktail evening on Friday. The college will open for tours and photos on Saturday, followed by dinner at the Marlborough Convention Centre. Sunday has been kept free to encourage former classmates to get together for coffee or lunch at a winery, Mrs Simpson said.

Marlborough Girls' College opened on February 5, 1963. A growing school roll and lack of ground space for more buildings at Marlborough College, now Marlborough Boys' College, made it necessary for a second college.

The Government's education policy around the time discussions for a new college began in 1958, allowed the community to decide whether they wanted two co-educational or two single-sex colleges.

The Marlborough Colleges centenary book, published in 2000 and edited by Lloyd Kerr, said that out of the 2950 votes cast in a referendum by Marlborough School Committees' Association, 58.6 per cent were in favour of two single-sex colleges.

Submissions to the Marlborough College Board favoured segregation by 32 to 9.

The final vote of the board sealed the deal with a vote of 5 to 3 for separate boys' and girls' colleges.

Registration forms for the event will be online at by tomorrow.

Did you go to MGC? Send us a photo of you or your friends in school uniform so we can share them online

The Marlborough Express