My T-bars were brown… another mother reminisces

Another mother reminisces about her school days.

kootoyoo - My T-bars were brown…

March 1, 2012

Did you know I’m the mother of a Year 9? It’s such a big year isn’t it?

I’ve been chatting in the car with my freshly minted Year 9 all about how things were for me “back in the day”. When I say stuff like “when I was at school” I feel like my mum. I think to myself…who cares?…that was about 100 years ago…things are different now! I’ve come to realise that actually things aren’t so different. Year 9 girls will have the same issues today that they were having when I was there and for that matter when my mum was there too.

My Year 9 year honestly feels like it was yesterday. The smell is as fresh in my nostrils today as it was all those years ago. I run the streets I walked as a Year 9 and reclaim my 14 going on 15 year old self. I hear the voices of my peers as my girl recounts conversations from her day.

It’s like looking in a mirror at my place at the moment… except that my T-bars were brown.

And some other mothers add their two cents.


my T-Bars were brown too…only in Adelaide they were called PaddleSteamers- because of the pattern on the front of the shoe.


When I was in high school, back in the mid 80′s you were not allowed to wear T-Bars. It was lace ups all the way.

In year 9 I fondly remember riding my bike down a big hill wearing brand new leather lace-ups and dragging those new shoes ALL the way down that very big hill. Needless to say they no longer looked new and shiny (and Mum was far from impressed)

Funny thing now at my daughter’s school they have outlawed T Bars starting this year. Something about students not doing them up properly. So now, she (Year 8) is not very pleased at having to wear the dreaded lace-ups.

Needless to say I have not shared my own experience, just in case!

Problems with brown school shoes at St Augustine’s Keilor

In Melbourne brown school shoes are a rare sight. This makes it hard for parents who need to find a pair of their children who are required to wear them. This school had to contact local shoe shops for help.

Brown shoes from Morton's Shoes, Ivanhoe

September 2015

Brown School Shoes

I have been in contact with Betts Kids, (Watergardens) about supplying brown school shoes for our school. They have styles available in brown but need to order them in (7-10 days) until they ascertain that it is viable to stock them.

I have also contacted Williams, (Watergardens) who state that they have limited shoes available. They will also order shoes in. They will have certainly have brown shoes in their ‘Back to school’ promotion

There is a significant number of students not wearing correct school footwear at the moment. I suggest that you get down to Betts Kids or Williams, get your child measured up and your order should be ready for the start of Term 4.

Remember these shoes?

Some mums reminisce about the t-bar shoes they used to wear to school.

Bilby: Still have stock of the popular girls school shoe by ROC in lace and Tbar.

Shirley: Look very much like the Harrisons that our girls used to wear…

Bilby: Yes, one is a copy of the other, but this one has leather lining

Shirley: I am talking about quite a few years ago, the Harrison shoes were all leather and had a cork lining between soles and inner…..

Anni: I had shoes like that back in the 1950s & loved them they were actually comfortable !

Brown school shoes dominate Ivanhoe

Brown school shoes are still a common sight in the Melbourne suburb of Ivanhoe thanks to two local schools. Local store Morton’s Shoes caters to this demand.

They have been doing it for years.

9 January 2015

We carry an extensive range of BROWN school shoes. These include lace-ups, velcro, Mary Jane’s and t-bars. We cater for all sizes, starting from prep through to year 12 students.

Click to access 2015_Uniform_Brochure.pdf


Ivanhoe Girls’ has a distinctive uniform which is attractive, practical and comfortable for the girls to wear.

All Year Uniform Items:

Dark brown leather lace up shoes or t-bar sandals

Click to access UniformCode2014.pdf


Ivanhoe Grammar School Uniform Code

Shoes must be brown leather lace up shoes suitable for polishing or T-Bar sandals. Sandals must be worn done up.

Girls schools with brown shoes

The list of schools where girls still wear brown shoes with their uniform is short, and shinking.

Old school Harrison Idaho t-bar school shoes in brown

Currently allow brown t-bar shoes

  • Ivanhoe Girls’ Grammar School
  • Ivanhoe Grammar School
  • Eltham College
  • Lauriston Girls’ School
  • Melbourne Girls Grammar School
  • St Dominic’s Priory College, Adelaide
  • St Aloysius College, Adelaide
  • Mary MacKillop College for Girls, Adelaide

Currently allow brown lace up shoes

  • Firbank Girls’ Grammar School
  • Killester College

Recently swapped brown lace up shoes for black

  • Camberwell Girls’ Grammar School
  • Kilbreda College
  • Siena College
  • Kildare College, Adelaide
  • Walford Anglican School For Girls, Adelaide

Recently dropped brown t-bar shoes for black shoes or laceups

  • Camberwell Girls’ Grammar School
  • Star of the Sea College
  • Killester College
  • Siena College
  • Kilbreda College

Dropped brown t-bar shoes a long time ago

  • St Michael’s Grammar School
  • Academy of Mary Immaculate
  • Sacré Cœur School