Bite Size Memoir No.1: “School at Seven”

In 1962, when I was almost seven, I attended my third school – Warracknabeal State School – in the Wimmera district, Victoria, Australia. Shortly after, my family moved again, this time down john and bettythe road to Balmoral. I was still in the first grade, despite missing Prep because my Uncle’s girlfriend was the Prep teacher. When she visited, I’d sit on her knee and proudly read John and Betty.

playmates

At Balmoral, we lived 8km out-of-town in an old house. My teacher was Miss Wiltshire. The favourite in our class was a girl with a hole-in-her-heart. The whole class earned smacks on the backs of our legs for playing up in Religious Instructions class and I begged them not to smack her. After we practiced for a concert, I missed the bottom step when we came off the stage, earning myself another smack around the legs. I didn’t like Miss Wiltshire after that.

Main street, Warracknabeal – still much the same as 1962 Photo: Virtual Tourist
This old hut was out front of our first ‘house’ down the road from Balmoral, at Englefield.
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17 Comments Add yours

  1. Ah, the shelter sheds! There was never enough room in them for everyone sheltering from the rain!
    I wasn’t happy when when decimal currency (known as dismal gernsey) came in. I was working by then, and it looked and felt like monopoly money.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. ChristineR says:

      I loved the shelter sheds. Helen, I’d forgotten what it was like being packed in with wet kids!

      I was lucky to learn both. The new stuff was so much easier to work out and I loved the Aussie animals and birds on the coins. But we still called 20 cents two bob for ages. 🙂

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  2. Our readers featured Dick and Jane and their dog, Spot. I was terrified of my grade one teacher. She’d smack the desk top with her yardstick. It was just as effective in terms of emotional threat as a smack to the butt, she was that menacing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ChristineR says:

      Oh scary, Maggie, the yardstick. I saw your Dick and Jane while looking for images of the readers. Thank goodness our grandchildren don’t have to put up with school punishment like the old days.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. What a charming memory Christine. I’m glad you remembered Miss Wiltshire—you will know to avoid her if you meet up again!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ChristineR says:

      Unfortunately, Kayti, she married one of my father’s friends so I saw her socially. I think I might have stared her down a few times, she wasn’t my teacher by then! Never saw her again after we left that town. 😀

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  4. M-R says:

    You can lay your hands on SCHOOLBOOKS ? – hevvings, Christine !!! You must be more of an obsessive than I am ! Those pennies look like new … and the sawmill hut ! – marvellous image from our history.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ChristineR says:

      I stole all the pictures M-R – most are from places like ebay. I do actually have a Playmates somewhere here, but it isn’t my original one. I still have my French textbook and a geography one. 😀

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      1. M-R says:

        Alors, tu parles français. Je suis contente.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. ChristineR says:

          Ha ha, without going to google translate I’d say … So, you speak French. I’m happy? 😀

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          1. M-R says:

            And there you are ! As the French would say … voila !

            Liked by 1 person

  5. Sue says:

    After I passed my books down to my brother the school used to ask for them back to pass on to other kids. In Prep Grade I thought everyone was slow because they couldn’t read, we had a boarder Mr. Webb who used to show me the alphabet & simple words, on a little blackboard before I even went to school. He used to draw lines on the board & I would have to write a letter over and over til the board was full. 2nd grade I was one of the lucky ones that could read and we would go to the head mistress’ office and sit on the floor while she read to us from 6th grade primers, we followed and sometimes she would ask us to read a chapter, we were very proud when we were chosen. Her name was Miss Liddy & she would remember all the childrens names, even if you saw her at the station on the way to work she would say hello. When she retired she would go into Melb. Uni. to mark exam papers. She was a lovely lady, so we were very lucky.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ChristineR says:

      Thats a lovely memory to have Sue. Miss Liddy sounds awesome. My uncle was in teacher’s college and he practised on me!

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  6. Cindi says:

    You have a great memory, Christine! Mine are all fuzzy …. but referencing Maggie’s comment, I do remember Dick and Jane from my learning in the 60’s in the U.S.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ChristineR says:

      As long as it’s over 35 years ago, Cindi, I’m likely to remember!

      Like

  7. bkpyett says:

    It is interesting to read your memories of your school years. Changing schools must have been difficult for you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ChristineR says:

      It was Barbara, especially that third time as I expected to be put into Grade two. Even though we did move house, I never changed schools again until just after Grade five began when we went to Hamilton. Then a different school for grade six because we moved to the other side of town. Three years high school and another move – my final year of high school – at Casterton. Then I left home and went nursing and missed the next move my family made that year to just outside Mount Gambier. I don’t think it had anything to do with me being there. It was wierd staying in the one town for the seventeen years of my first marriage (though in two other homes before settling on the farm). I’ve been here for nearly 24 years now. 🙂

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