Top Menu

What Did You Order for School Lunch?

Remember the brown paper bags for school lunch orders? You might have even been a lunch monitor.

When I was at school we never had anything as fancy as the printed paper bags, back in the 50s and 60s if we ordered from the school canteen, we wrote on the plain paper bag.
School Lunch. What Did You Order for Lunch at School

School Lunch. What Did You Order for Lunch at School

When my children went to school in the 70’s and 80’s they would fill out one of these brown paper bags for lunch orders and then the lunch monitor would take them to the school canteen so you could get it brought back to the classroom for lunch.

The canteen would be staffed by volunteer parents (my wife did that quite often as our children grew up) and they’d make sure the kids got their lunch bags filled with whatever they wanted. The children who were the lunch monitors would come in just before lunch to pick them up and they’d all be happily chatting away while they waited for the lunch ladies to get their class’s lunch box for them.
These days of course its all about healthy eating and there are now strict Government guidelines as to what kids should and shouldn’t be having for lunch. I don’t disagree with that, especially nowadays when most kids probably buy their lunch at school more often than they take it.
When we went to school  (we’re talking 50s and 60s here) buying lunch at the tuck shop was a rare exception rather than the rule. At that time in Australia most families survived on one income and buying lunch was considered a rare treat, maybe once or twice a month. Most times we took lunch to school, maybe Vegemite sandwiches or jam. On a Monday we would probably have had cold meat and Rosella Tomato Sauce sandwiches, leftovers from the Sunday roast. My mother used to do a great silverside and I can still taste her silverside sandwiches, wrapped in grease-proof paper, placed in a paper bag with a banana for afters. And we had to bring the paper bag and paper home which would be re-used next day and the day after that! On the rare occasions we were able to buy lunch I would have a pasty with sauce and a kitchener bun (loved those kitcheners).
Do they still do school lunches in these brown paper bags now and can you still get pies and pasties and kitchener buns?


18 Responses to What Did You Order for School Lunch?

  1. Geoff Wilson September 20, 2014 at 8:58 am #

    i remember the paper bags for school used to print them at national paper products

    • John Goodall September 25, 2014 at 11:16 am #

      I would always have a pie, always round and hot (not balfours square ones), finger bun and a merange.

  2. Fable Workshop September 22, 2014 at 11:37 pm #

    I can remember when the bags had NO print & you had to write on it what you wanted and then put the right money in the bag & hand it in! I can also recall when pies & pasties were 23c/24c with sauce.

  3. Bob Johnston September 29, 2014 at 9:50 am #

    From home – Cheese & Tomato Sandwich = 1 soggy mess at lunch time

  4. Rob August 3, 2015 at 11:30 pm #

    Thank you of posting this – I’ve been trying to find a photo of one of these bags to show my Grandkids !! Our pies st school came form Scotts. And I remember you could buy a bumper from the end of the loaf of bread with either vegemite or peanut butter on it really cheap – not in the lunch order though. Only over the counter.

  5. Terry L May 2, 2016 at 6:31 pm #

    Well, my parents ran a small shop on the Port Road (High Street), Queenstown, which doubled as the tuck shop for Alberton Primary School (Little and Big Schools for those who know) from 1947 to 1956. Lunch bags would come over, handwritten, with correct money inside. Mum and my older sister would then begin the daily task of getting everything ready – whipping the butter (no margarine then) with hot water (to make it spreadable and to eke it out), corned beef, mustard, tomato sauce etc. And then feverishly begin to double cut rolls (from Oldfields Bakery) and fill them. Kitchener, finger and cream buns were on the menu as well as Chester slice. I think it was more a community service than a financially rewarding scheme but it was done accurately and on time every day, Monday to Friday. I think my work ethic must have come from watching my parents in that shop.

    • Susan August 28, 2017 at 3:36 am #

      Thanks for sharing this. I loved imagining your mum and sister each step of the way. Makes me nostalgic.

  6. Karl June 25, 2017 at 8:26 pm #

    Wow Terry L!
    Double-cut rolls!
    I had completely forgotten about those…
    Do they still exist anywhere out these days as an optional extra?
    Our primary school must have had subsidised pricing.
    I remember a sausage roll and sauce costing 7 cents.
    The mums took it in turns helping the full-time canteen supervisor. Usually four mothers would work with her making up the lunches and serving kids at the canteen’s lunch bar – where there was a shop style display counter with all sorts of lollies. A 5 cent mix bag was a treat now and then.

  7. Steve October 7, 2017 at 10:01 pm #

    I remember the day pies and pasties went up from 11c to 12c and sausage rolls from 5c to 6c. I was shocked… shocked I tell you! 11c and 5c were the original decimal prices converted from a shilling and 6d in 1966. If someone had told me we’d be paying a few dollars for these yummies I’d have said that was crazy talk.

    • Teresa Blair June 15, 2018 at 4:35 am #

      Hi I remember the daily pies,greatest pies I have ever tasted,glad you remember them.x When I got back to England I really missed these pies,best that i have ever tasted.

  8. heath December 17, 2017 at 3:41 pm #

    oh my god! i remember these from glenelg primary school in the early 80’s i used to get a beautiful balfours pastie followed by the balfours chocolate donut,yum! all for about $1.50.

  9. Andy January 21, 2018 at 9:05 pm #

    Oh yes, double cut rolls. And Balfours chocolate donuts, yum!
    I liked a pastie with sauce and a buttered roll. Also a double-cut corned beef and pickled onion roll.
    The rolls were always crispy and delicious, and a chocolate donut sometimes – bliss!

  10. Teresa Blair June 15, 2018 at 4:36 am #

    Hi I remember the daily pies,greatest pies I have ever tasted,glad you remember them.x When I got back to England I really missed these pies,best that i have ever tasted.

  11. Christine October 12, 2020 at 8:50 pm #

    We still had these exact lunch bags in the 80’s. I loved my hedge hog pie. Two students would have to go to the school canteen to bring it over to the classroom in a red rub with a blue covering.

  12. Sally November 5, 2020 at 8:36 pm #

    I used to order the Hexagon meat pie, although no one seems to remember this pie. It was a hexagon shape with bread crumbs on top. Delicious.

    Does anyone out there remember these? Have I remembered the right name because I can’t even find a photo of them on google.

    • Tania October 23, 2021 at 11:53 am #

      Yes! I remember the Hexagon meat pie! Every now and then I try to find a pic of them on google, but there is nothing. I sometimes think I dreamed this memory haha…glad to know it was real. I cant remember much about them, just that they were kind of flat and there was bread crumbs or cheese or mince meat baked on to the top of the pie. I remember they were delicious. I just found an article that mentions them:

      • Christine November 27, 2023 at 9:02 am #

        Does anyone remember Balfours had a loaf cake with peanuts on top.
        I can’t find it on Google but I really liked it.

    • Kelly January 2, 2024 at 9:42 pm #

      Heck yes I loved the hexagon pie. They were the absolute best ever.

Leave a Reply