When long-standing SIDE Science teacher Gerry Nolan retired in July, he delivered a cardboard box to the SIDE Library. He thought the contents might be of interest for the school archives.

When staff delved into the box, they found albums and boxes of loose photos of students and staff dating back to the 1990s. Most photos had names attached and were like a time capsule!

Gerry had a varied career at SIDE, commencing as a science teacher in the late 1980s after a career as a geologist. Through his various roles at the school he came into contact with a wide range of regional students. He combined science teaching with other roles as a presenter on the Live Science program broadcast from SIDE across regional Western Australia through the GWN network and coordination of student programs and activities. As a Student Services Coordinator he had responsibilities for home-based and school-based students across the state. In the days before the internet, when there were fewer school visits by SIDE teachers, photos of individual students were taken that teachers used when they were talking on the phone with students or simply needed to put a face to a name. These were displayed around the teachers’ desks.

LiveScience Julie flat

Gerry’s cardboard box of photos has now been organised and placed in the SIDE Archives. The photos include:

  • travelling students from the 1990s and 2000s
  • the Distance Education 75th Anniversary open day in 1993
  • award ceremonies in the early 2000s
  • student photos from the 1990s from Exmouth District High School, Jurien District High School and Gascoyne Junction, and from the Pilbara, Wheatbelt, Great Southern and South West
  • SIDE teachers on regional visits.

We are grateful to those individuals like Gerry who have retained memorabilia from their time at the distance education schools as students or teachers, and who have made them available to later generations by donating them to the school archives.