The Correspondence School was established on 2 September 1918 in Western Australia to provide education for rural students living too far away to attend local schools. Over the next 20 years the Correspondence School was to experience great change and had many locations in Perth.

Early 1918

The Director-General of Education, Mr C Andrews attended a conference in Melbourne where education for outback children was discussed. The Victorian Correspondence School had been established 2 years previously. He returned to Western Australia and recommended that the Minister for Education establish a Correspondence School in Western Australia.

1918 - September

The Correspondence School was established to provide education for rural students living too far away to attend the local schools. It was temporarily located in a large house at 16 St George’s Terrace, Perth (then the location of the Education Department) and the Correspondence School was in the kitchen. The first teacher, Mrs EH Atkinson, was appointed as a teacher for the students, however 55 students enrolled and a second teacher, Mr C Eakins was appointed after the initial enrolments were so positive. By the end of 1918 there were 73 students enrolled between the ages of 5 and 16.


Materials for students were developed as fortnightly units, or sets, creating 18-20 sets per year. Sets for each subject were sent to students, and then the whole set, or part of the set, was returned to teachers for marking. This established a regular cycle of work which was sent to students and received by teachers through the postal service. It was a huge task for the teachers as the materials needed to be written, often by hand, and then transferred by a typist to a duplicator.

207 students were enrolled from Eucla and Busselton in the south, to Port Hedland in the north. This group included disabled students who were unable to attend a rural school. Over 1919 the curriculum was extended from English, Arithmetic and Writing, to include the subjects of History, Geography and Nature Study.

The Education Department moved its location again in Late 1919 to premises next to the Government Printer's in Murray Street.


Clarence Eakins was appointed as the first Headmaster. He had experience teaching in the outback and understood the conditions in which isolated children lived.



The post-primary student subjects were expanded to include History, Geography and Algebra.


The school size increased to 655 students, 14 teachers and a typist. 75 students were at a post-primary level. Using lesson materials provided by the Special Rural School at Toodyay, the post-primary student curriculum expanded to include Farm Bookkeeping, Practical Mensuration and Home Economics. These subjects later became known as the General Course.


The School enrolment expanded to include: 

  • rural students who had left school but wanted to continue their studies (52 students).
  • students in small rural schools who had passed through Class IV and wanted to remain at school for a year or two more (89 students in 328 schools).

Mr Eakins established a school library service to provide students with supplementary reading.


The Correspondence School, together with the Education Department moved to the first floor of the General Post Office (now called the State Buildings) on the corner of Barrack Street and St Georges Terrace, Perth.


Rural students who did not have a local high school were able to enrol with the Correspondence School for the first time to prepare for the Junior Certificate Examination. Twelve students enrolled in English, History, Geography, Agricultural Science and Mathematics. This was significant as students could remain in their small primary schools and complete a Junior Certificate by correspondence. At the time there were only four secondary schools in rural WA and many families could not afford a boarding school. Correspondence lessons were the only alternative.

The Correspondence School also began to accept probationary teachers and unclassified teachers who wanted to prepare for the “C” Certificate examinations in English, History, Geography, Arithmetic, Algebra, Geometry and Agricultural Science.

During this year a new event took place, a successful tour for boys (a school camp) in Perth.

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