I, my twin sister and older brother first began Correspondence School lessons in the early 1960’s whilst our family was living on a pastoral station in the Gascoyne.

I’m not a hundred percent sure, but I don’t think my sister and I were officially enrolled with the Correspondence School at this time but with Mum being unwell, we went off to the classroom under the supervision of the governess as four or five year olds with our brother who was completing Grade 1.

I then completed Grade 1 to half way through Grade 3 at the one teacher school at Gascoyne Junction before we again moved to another property and where once again enrolled with the Correspondence School to complete the end of Grade 3, and Grades 4 and 5 before being sent off to boarding school.

My most vivid memories relate to the excitement of receiving the new lessons on the weekly mail truck at the beginning of the school year. When we completed the work we rolled up the completed fortnightly set with the provided piece of paper with the address on it. This had to be placed correctly so that the address was on the outside of the finished roll which was usually about the diameter of the tube in a roll of alfoil. Then there was the excitement of receiving the marked work and going through it after Mum and the governess had opened them and discussed the marks and comments all done with a red pen. No stickers or smiley faces back then!

As well as Maths, English (including grammar, composition writing, spelling and dictation) Social Studies and Science we also did Art which was fairly basic due to the limited resources, and also the enthusiasm or lack of it by the governess at the time. I remember being very proud of a water colour painting of the homestead that I had done which was duly rolled up and posted off never to be seen or heard about again!

Moving ahead twenty plus years to the late 1980’s, I once again became involved with correspondence lessons when I enrolled our eldest child with the Distance Education Centre as a 4-year-old and so commenced 17 years supervising our children as they completed their schooling to Year 12 with distance learning.

What a change from my correspondence days as we moved away from all written work to the first use of computers then towards the end of their school years the internet and emails. A far cry from when I started with powdered ink and a dip pen.

Learning by distance education has given us all good time management, organisational skills and the ability to work without constant supervision.


Julie came to our Centenary Open Day with her parents