I commenced school in 1937 at Walgoolan School and did about six months there before the family moved to Dalwallinu and I went onto Correspondence lessons with my mother supervising. Mother had had some teaching experience – she had been through teachers’ training college and then spent a year or two in one-teacher schools in the Dalwallinu district before changing her career to nursing.
Between moving from Walgoolan to Dalwallinu I believe we called in at Correspondence School headquarters which I think may have been within the grounds of Claremont Teachers’ College.
Mum made it a requisite that we called in and met our teachers every year during the summer school holidays if at all possible. I can remember meeting both male and female teachers at various times but names elude me. My mother would certainly have had contact with Mr Eakins who was the Headmaster at that time. I can’t remember meeting him but I do remember his name.
Most of my primary school schooling was on correspondence. I spent a short period (probably a month or two) at Wubin School and then the last six months of Class 6 was at Dalwallinu School before going to Northam High School in 1944.
All of my brothers and sisters also did Correspondence lessons. Apart from brief contact annually with the Correspondence teachers, all communication from and to them was by hand writing. A set was two weeks work and it was normal for a letter to be included with each set and the teacher would return a letter with the marked set. No mail was delivered to the property, and it was only picked up upon a trip to town 6 miles away which was usually on a weekly basis, sometimes fortnightly. This of course meant that we had to complete another set without the benefits of having any corrections from the previous one.
In early years we had supervision with getting our sets away on time but as we progressed up the classes it was up to us to organise ourselves to achieve this. All part of learning. For my part it is still easier to express myself in writing than to make a speech.
My own four children did Correspondence lessons in the 1960s. Julie, one of my daughters has also contributed her story. Two of my grandchildren completed all their schooling (Pre-primary to Year 12) with the Distance Education Centre and then the Schools of Isolated and Distance Education (1987-2003).
Robert came to our Centenary Open Day with his wife and daughter - Julie