Rules for Female Teachers in 1915

Rules for Female Teachers in 1915 (Queensland, Australia)

  1. You will not marry during the term of your contract.
  2. You are not to keep company with men.
  3. You must be home between the hours of 8pm and 6am, unless attending a school function.
  4. You may not loiter downtown in ice-cream stores.
  5. You may not travel beyond the city limits unless you have permission of the Chairman of the Board
  6. You may not ride a carriage or automobile with any man unless he is your father or brother.
  7. You may not smoke cigarettes.
  8. You may not dress in bright colours.
  9. You may under no circumstances dye your hair.
  10. You must wear at least 2 petticoats.
  11. Your dresses must not be any shorter than 2 inches above the ankles.
  12. To keep the school neat and clean you must:
  • sweep the floor at least once daily
  • scrub the floor at least once a week with hot soapy water
  • clean the blackboard at least once a day
  • start the fire at 7am so the room will be warm by 8am.

So ladies, I hope none of you plan to loiter downtown in one of those ice-cream stores and I do hope you are wearing your 2 petticoats!! And no bright colours - I would have been hopeless as I love bright colours and would have skipped one of those petticoats in a hot Queensland climate!

Below are rules for the 1872 teacher - I particularly like the one about male teachers being able to spend one evening per week for courting purposes, but I assume not with a female teacher as she isn't allowed out after dark!!  How times have changed.

Here's one from 1872 - click to enlarge.


  1. It sounds a bit boring it all hinges on keeping up appearances nothing about the teaching part.

  2. It may seem a bit harsh to our modern way of thinking..but some of those rules are pretty good in my opinion.
    A teacher was expected to have an impecable character and be a sober and chaste example to the students.
    Not a bad idea at all, really!

    1. The teacher was held up as an example of how to behave and most would have come from respectable homes where these things would have been done anyway. So I don't think many teachers would have rebelled against that list.

  3. ah Jo, as a retired teacher this gave me a huge chuckle. I think my one teacher school dad (in early 1950's) may well have had to light the fire and clean the schoolroom.. but real laugh when we think what today's standards are - and in some respects, more is the pity! could not manage the two petticoats either! :D God bless, Shaz in oz.x

    1. Thanks for dropping by. My mum taught for many years and would have had a chuckle at that list too!!


  4. Giggling here too, though like Trish I do think some decorum would be a great example in our day. Even when we were children, teachers were held in high esteem.
    Just recently my parents were telling me about the teachers whom came to the little bush schools. No accommodation, they boarded with locals, not roads let alone ice-cream stores!
    So much for the good old days!

    1. My mum was a teacher in the 1950's and part of her training required her to teach in the country which meant boarding with a family. This was all very new for her as she was a city girl, but quite an adventure I am sure. I am sure she had to behave in a particular way and certainly required to dress suitably - but she would have only wore one petticoat!!

      I think we could have some dress code in some office buildings, I am always amazed at what some will wear.

  5. Hi Jo,
    I'm glad I wasn't a teacher then...I love ice cream.
    Seriously,teaching was such a responsible job that all teachers had to be above reproach in every way.
    Have a good week,
    Barb from australia

  6. I think many of these are actually NOT bad - like the others have commented above, teachers today could do with garnering a little more respect by living more upright lives... :P

    1. I agree. It is sad that teaching is not as respected as it once was.


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