Margaret Ann Vallentine (nee Potthoft), I was born on 11th August 1936 in Kondinin Hospital in WA. My father, William farmed a block of land 21 miles east of Kondinin.
Due to isolation I did fortnightly Correspondence Lessons from Infants to Year 5. Miss Brown was one of my teachers, and Mr Clarence Eakins was Headmaster. I sat at the kitchen table 9am - noon, when we would take Dad’s lunch and a bottle (King Brown Beer Bottle) of sweet, milkless tea to the paddock where Dad was ploughing/seeding/hay cutting or harvesting. My tasks from an early age were washing dishes, sweeping floors, peeling vegetables, lighting the fire and from 9 years old, baking the bread (mine was always better than Mum’s). One day Mum and Dad had gone into town as Dad was unwell. There was no meat in the house. I knew Dad had a sheep penned up for slaughter. Leaving my brothers (aged 5 and 8) at the house I took the meat bag and killing knives and successfully slaughtered the beast (heaven knows how as I was slightly built). I had not thought through the project and Dad luckily arrived just as I had finish skinning it and completed the job.
Dad and a neighbour (both with 3 children each) built a single room asbestos school. A young divorcée who had one child taught us for 3 months until she met and married a farmer. This was the end of the bush school.
A school bus service began to operate taking students to Kondinin School and this ended my time with the Correspondence School. Numerous illustrations - including my Literature Book. Mr Elliot asked if he could keep it. At the School’s 75th Anniversary I met up with Mr Elliot who told me that my Literature Book had been all over the State and had been lodged in the Education Department Archives! I also enjoyed sports and was a fast runner. For Years 8, 9 and 10 I attended Albany Senior High School where I boarded at ‘The Rocks’ in Grey Street and represented the school at Country Week Hockey. I later completed the General Nursing Training at Royal Perth Hospital and nursed at Lake Grace, Corrigin and Three Springs.
I am grateful for my childhood experiences. I have learnt independence, appreciation and the ability to speak out.
Interesting read: School without a teacher . . .
Margaret Vallentine at our Centenary Open Day