A Flare for Marching


Kwinana Flares.  Mascot at front, Denise Buchan, Leader Thelma Playle, Left Marker, Lyn Buchan, across – Eunice Burns and Ann Wilkinson, behind and across, Carol Laird and Rosa Hol.  Back right, unknown girl, back right across – Carol (surname unknown), Jennifer Ward and unknown girl.  Instructor: Mr. A. Buchan. Thomas Oval, c1960s. Team sponsored by BP Refinery.


18th August, 1959 marked the debut of the Kwinana Flares Girls Marching team.  Originally operating out of the old Police Youth and Citizen’s Club on Hoyle Road, and smartly outfitted by club dressmaker Mrs. Buchan, in the sport’s heyday, Kwinana High School was proud to be represented by no less than three marching teams of 14 girls each.

May 1967 saw our girls bring glory to the Kwinana district, performing with distinction in the National Championships held in Tasmania.

Diana Manwaring, Kwinana Midgets, c1960s


Formation marching in Australia can trace its origins back to the Depression as means to keep young women fit and healthy in the face of a lack of other sport and recreation resources and facilities at the time.  In competition, judges awarded a deducted points based on precision, costume, movement and length of pace.  The sport soon became big business, drawing large crowds and teams become a regular feature at the Medina Fair, Flower Show and other public festivities.

Originally known as the Australian Marching Association, the sport still continues today under the  name of DrillDance Australia and is still going strong with Championships to be held in Sydney in 2017.




P00328N Anne Froud, Marching Girls sportsperson of the year nominee, 1978




5 thoughts on “A Flare for Marching

  1. Thank you for this awesome article and photos dedicated to marching girls from WA. I am looking forward to sharing the article and images on my Facebook group at Marching Girls. It will bring such joy to former marching girls, especially those from WA.

    There are Facebook groups dedicated to the sport. It is now called drilldance. I administrate two Facebook sites dedicated to marching girls as follows:

    Marching Girls a closed Facebook Group with over 1,600 members at https://www.facebook.com/groups/quickmarch/

    Marching Girls’ Video Album with over 490 likers at https://www.facebook.com/marchgirlmovies/

    Thank you
    Karen Ellis

    1. Thanks Karen! It is wonderful to see Kwinana’s heritage being shared and celebrated by people outside of our City. If your members are interested in other historical mentions of Marching Girls, TROVE digitised newspapers is great resource for articles and photos: http://trove.nla.gov.au/

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