Queensland University Magazine and Galmahra: a glimpse into UQ’s past.

Graduations have begun and it is great to see students on campus wearing their gowns and mortar boards. Did you know when the University first started students wore their gowns and mortar boards all year round? Evidence of this can be found in the early editions of the student magazine Queensland University Magazine and Galmahra, where many advertisements for gowns and mortar boards appear.

We recently digitised the series of Queensland University Magazine and Galmahra, which can be found UQ eSpace. The Queensland University Magazine was first published in 1911 and was renamed Galmahra: the magazine of the University of Queensland in 1921. Galmahra, an Aboriginal word for 'poet, seer, teacher or philosopher amongst the tribes', was named in honour of Galmahra (Jackey Jackey), a member of a tribe of the Merton district near Muswellbrook in New South Wales.

The student magazine provides a rich history of university life not only through its articles but also through its advertisements. The advertisements for university attire and fashion are very amusing.

Rothwell’s Limited,leading menswear store in Brisbane, took out full page advertisements, cordially inviting students to inspect their quality gowns. Rothwell’s guaranteed a correct fit, design and finish. At the official opening of the University, Rothwell’s supplied the gowns to the Chancellor, Sir William MacGregor, and Vice-Chancellor, Reginald Heber Roe. Rothwell’s menswear store was housed in its own building from 1885 in Edward St, Brisbane and the building still exists today and now houses a restaurant owned by a popular celebrity chef. Unfortunately the menswear business closed in the 1980s. 

The supply of quality university attire saw great competition. Apart from Rothwell’s, B. G Burt Limited also offered everything of high quality in gentlemen’s wear, while W.G. McNaught marked his stock “at the keenest prices” and Pike Brothers Limited supplied “correct gowns for every degree”. Gray’s was the home of good footwear. 

So for a glimpse of what attending UQ was like 100 years ago, why not browse the magazines via UQ eSpace.


Last updated:
26 April 2016