They take their sport seriously. Every weekend thousands of girls in every State don jaunty caps, short skirts, and high white boots, and march.
They march through the streets, a parks, in playing fields. They march at football matches, carnivals, Mardi Gras, and fetes. A festive occasion in Australia isn’t complete without a team of marching girls these days.
The marching idea was brought to Australia from New Zealand in the late 1930s. Although it became established in some smaller country towns, it didn’t really catch on until the early ’50s.
About that time the Australian Girls’ Marching Association was formed, with a chief judge responsible for compiling a marching plan – a set of rules for all teams competing in Australian championships.
Briefly, the general rules state that marching girls should swing their arms waist-high, back and front, and, while the fingers are cupped, they should extended with knuckles parallel to the ground. Head is held high, while the team always heel-marches 120 beats to the minute, following a plan based on military precision marching.
Originally the main aim of the marching movement was to give girls something to do with their spare time. But with so many competitions and the necessary two to three nights a week training, it has become a full-time hobby. Teams compete against each other in local and interstate competitions for medals and trophies, as well as the right to contest the Australian championships held every Easter.
In Australia, girls can start marching from the age of seven. They join the Midget section for girls from seven to 12 years, later move to the Juniors (12 to 15) and Seniors (15 to 99!).
While some teams are supported by big sporting clubs, most raise money from barbecues and fetes to pay then fares to the Australian championships and often to help pay for their uniforms.
Each team designs its own uniform. The only real regulation a very strict one is that the minimum length of skirt in a kneeling position should be 8|in. from the ground. And, of course, no lace or frills are allowed.
The girls have a very strict code of honor. As well as being chaperoned at all times, the teams have special travelling uniforms and, except on parade, are never seen in public in their short skirts.
The Australian Women’s Weekly Wednesday 15 June 1966. This area had the following Clubs. There may be more.
- Elizabeth Fields Marching Girls.
- Commodore Marching Girls Club.
- Davoren Marching Girls Club.
- Karawirra Marching Girls Club.
- Majorettes Marching Girls Club.
- Munno Para Marching Girls Club.
- Paramount Marching Girls Club.
- Royal Grenadiers Marching Girls Club.
- Smithfield Marching Girls Club.
- Spartan Marching Girls Club.
- Westfield Marching Girls Club.
- Tandanya Marching Girls Club.
- RSL Elizabethan Girls Marching Company.
Elizabeth (South Australia)