Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Hornsby Infants School: Kindergarten 1954

Sitting atop a ridge that runs steeply down into a densely wooded valley, there was the constant worry of bushfires storming up and overwhelming the school. This only concerned the parents; the pupils were oblivious. Addicted to orderliness as I am, school was a joy; and I attended this one for two years from 1954 until the middle of 1956, when my younger brother, my mother and I moved up to Denman in the Upper Hunter Valley to rejoin our father and my older brother who had already slaved away up there for 11 months in an endeavour to make the farm liveable: an injunction from our mother.

A number of the faces in this photograph bring flashes to my memory but there are only three girls that I can not only name but also remember. First on the left in the front row is Evelyn Smith, my best friend, who came from a tear-away "naughty" family down Burdett Street near the creek. In the third row, fifth from the left is Elizabeth Fry who is always twinned in my head with Wrigleys Chewing Gum; don't ask why. In the back row, fourth from the right is Barbara (I had her last name when I commenced this post ...), who made up our band of four.

In my second year at school, when I was in 1st Class (as was the nomenclature then), I can remember Miss Sewey being very strict about printing. We only used pencils to write - HB only and nothing softer, children - and Miss Sewey became livid if she could see where the circles for letters like a and o and d joined. No shapes or lines were to be connected with any visible laziness on the page. Contravene this and whoosh ... the ruler would come down over your knuckles as you wrote.

I was tickled pink when we moved to the country so that Dad could follow his dream ... I am the petal with the ribbon holding up the identifying sign - a job I was to have more than once in my life!

A second thought: Count the number of children in this class - what teacher, or parent, would tolerate that nowadays!!

11 comments:

kimbofo said...

What a great picture!

I had already picked you out holding the sign before I read the post!

Julie said...

Really!

It is one of the early photos that I struggle to think is me. I certainly look most hesitant and ill-at-ease.

Looking at that front row, though, I do not appear to be the shortest girl. I was probably the most obedient!

Joan Elizabeth said...

This reminded me that we Queensland children thought the kids from NSW were so backward because they printed long after we were doing running writing. The other thing was even when they got to running writing it was like printing joined together, not at all like the copperplate script in our copy books.

When I started school in 1959 we used slates and slate pencils a lot of the time in Grade 1 (no kindy in Qld). Did you use slates?

Clueless in boston said...

wonderful picture. Can you name all the other children in the photo?

Just for the record, there were 54 children in my first grade class, and we were lorded over by a nun who was not much bigger than us.

freefalling said...

Have you got a blazer on?

Julie said...

Letty: no, not a blazer: this is a state school! I think it is a form of

Joan: yes, I have a memory of slate boards whilst at Hornsby but no where else. In NSW, we learnt to print and when we went into 3rd Class we learnt running writing, which in my day was, indeed, copperplate with all the loops and swirls. The joined up printing - an abomination known as Modified Cursive - came sometime during the '60s. One can look at the handwriting of colleagues nowadays and determine whether they had the strength of character to alter this style of writing to suit their own purposes. It is very immature and akin to a straight-jacket. End of rant ...

Julie said...

Letty: ... form of duffle-coat with those oblique knobby things that you put through a loop.

altadenahiker said...

Dead center is the girl with the long braids. I remember sitting in class and admiring the girls with the longest hair. Their mothers would spend hours on it.

Julie said...

Yes, Karin, it is beautiful, although I sort of thin it is more like ringlets than braids. The braids in those days were nothing like the braiding that I see around nowadays. I remember spending a lot of time with my own daughter's hair when it was long and she wanted either braids or a ponytail.

Sally said...

How come I went to primay school 900 kms away and have identical photos???

I am also struck by thr fact that we wore no school uniform in primary school in those days. I wonder when it became de rigeur? (and teachers, administrators and parents started obsessing about it as if noone not wearing a uniform could possibly learn anything!)

Sally said...

...err anyone, not no-one - I am sure you know what I mean.

In 1965 or so in melbourne we graduated from pencils to ink wells. And then - oh, how sophisticated! fountain pens.