This paper examines Australia's history of uniformed schooling as mediated by its leading mass-market magazine, the Australian Women's Weekly. This magazine was a significant cultural agent that served as an authority on everything from fashion to schooling, capitalizing on the matter of school dress by running advertisements for school uniforms, printing articles and letters on school wear, and featuring attractive images of uniformed schoolchildren. This paper argues that the Weekly used this content to provide textual and visual reinforcement for a powerful cultural trope of the proper, desirable, happy, and modern Australian schoolchild as uniformed. In doing so, it represented the normative school mother as working behind the scenes to produce or procure the school uniform as well as to arrange and manage the uniformed child. We contend that the magazine portrayed this work as part of a project to draw the mother into a respectable and ostensibly “Australian” community.
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