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History of BGGS War Cry

The origin of the BGGS War Cry dates to 19191, with the current iteration emerging in 1923. As is tradition, the War Cry—a song comprising lyrics written by students—was typically sung at sporting events to encourage and boost morale among players, and as an expression of School spirit.

Past student and BGGS staff member, Marjorie Elliott (1922), recalled her sister and 12 other 1923 Fifth Formers ‘making up’ the current BGGS War Cry2 because all other schools had one.

However, Kathleen Lilley, Headmistress of the School between 1925 and 1952, and her successor, Louise McDonald (nee Crooks), Headmistress from 1952-1970 felt the War Cry to be ‘unladylike’, and it was banned a number of times.

Kathleen Shillam (O’Neill, 1931) recollects Miss Lilley banning the War Cry:

‘So when we went to the school sports all the other schools seemed to spontaneously take turns to say their war cries. When our turn came there was silence, except for a small group of boys and old girls’3.

The War Cry continued to be used intermittently during this period, sung usually only at larger, inter-school sporting events such as swimming and athletics.

In 2013, the School confirmed the spelling of the words of the War Cry, and it was printed in the 2014 School Diary:

Oobla Oobla sarramatta tong
Bishbar Bishbar, hoola soola bong
Marrapatta Marrapatta
Rangakarra coo
Come on Grammar, blue blue blue!

Today, the War Cry is sung at sporting carnivals throughout the year, and at other milestone events such as the School’s Annual Speech Day and Distribution of Prizes, where it has become tradition for Year 12 students, on the eve of their last day as Grammar girls, to close formalities with a final rendition of the War Cry.

  1. BGGS Magazine, December 1919, p. 15
  2. To become fine sportswomen, Pauline Harvey-Short, p. 24
  3. Grammar Gazette, Term 4 1993, p. 7