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News > From the Archives > St Margaret's during WWII

St Margaret's during WWII

In the last OGA newsletter, I put out a call for any Old Girls who were at St Margaret's during WWII. I have had a wonderful response.

In the last OGA newsletter, I put out a call for any Old Girls who were at St Margaret’s during WWII. I have had a wonderful response. It has been great to hear their stories. Many recalled the ‘trenches’ that were built to accommodate air-raid practices which were held at irregular times during the day and night so that the girls were always prepared. Many also recalled the calico bag that was carried everywhere which in some cases contained a camouflage hood and gas mask. The girls could also see the various aircraft coming into land at nearby Eagle Farm Aerodrome.

There were tales too of US Service men who visited various homes in the vicinity of the school as guests of the parents, bringing with them gifts of chocolates and stockings.

Rationing was in full swing, and the school closed for a time in 1942 as the Japanese forces advanced towards Australia. Lessons were conducted in nearby homes or by correspondence. In some cases, girls were sent to St Catharine’s in Warwick to board, though the memories of that experience were not necessarily the happiest ones. One memory was of a large pail of milk that was served daily – with the addition of many flies floating on the top. One student was heard to say that it was added protein!

Because of a shortage of staff, the girls were called upon to do some of the more mundane chores around the school and they took their service for the war – knitting socks and gloves- very seriously. Rationing also meant the material for uniforms was scarce so the sleeves on the middy top were shortened to their present length.

If there are more old ‘Old Girls’ out there who would like to share their experiences of life at St Margaret’s during the war, please contact me via msurtees@stmargarets.qld.edu.au.    

 

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