WWII affected the Correspondence School in many ways. The School expanded, providing more services to rural students; children with disabilities and post-primary students in country schools accessed special subjects for the first time. In 1951 Clarence Eakins retired after 31 years as Headmaster and was presented with a typewriter in appreciation of his work.

Late 1930s - Students

Students attended the Correspondence School for a variety of reasons. Iris Wilson and Marion and Nancy Knight were Correspondence School students while their parents ran the Cape Leveque Lighthouse.

Lessons were delivered by the lighthouse supply vessels fortnightly when they brought provisions for the families. If lessons missed the boat from Perth, the children were quite devastated because they were unable to receive positive feedback from their teachers. On the other hand, if something had been done incorrectly, it was a long time before the reprimand arrived! Visits to their teachers in Perth were infrequent but they did meet a Miss Eckersley who invitied them to her home. No teacher visited the children in their own home at Cape Leveque during the time they attended the school. (Source: History of distance education in Western Australia: 1918 - 1993).


Correspondence lessons were made available to disabled and invalid children in the metropolitan area. Where possible they were visited by teachers who used trams, buses and cars to reach them.

An association with the Gould League commenced when Clarence Eakins became a Foundation Member of the WA Gould League Council.  During and after the war the Correspondence School was used as League headquarters. Mr Eakins edited the League's annual magazine for 22 years and introduced The Gould Leaguer (which was first called The Bird Lover), as an information magazine. He organised the first Gould League Camp at Bickley in 1951 and helped plan the arbor and memorial at that camp site. His interest also extended to the displays at the Wildlife Show and the Royal Agricultural Show.


Inaugural Correspondence School broadcasts using ABC radio were commenced. Students were able to hear their teachers and to receive directions about their school work.

The war service effort began with the School fundraising, collecting scrap metal, and thousands of knitted articles were made and despatched to the men overseas.

Late 1940s - early 1950s

This image from a Social Studies text shows the work of teachers and support staff in developing Correspondence School materials.


1940s - Students

Sadie Canning (nee Corner) was one of many Aboriginal students who studied with the Correspondence School while living at the Mount Margaret Mission.  Sadie was taken away from her parents at the age of 4, and studied by distance education from Class 5 (Year 6) through to the Junior Certificate. When asked about her memories of correspondence lessons she said she most remembered 'receiving her work back together with lovely letters from her teacher, Mrs Bowman'. She most enjoyed studying Physiology and Hygiene because she wanted to be a nurse.

At 19 Sadie went to Melbourne to study at Bethesda Hospital, because there were no nursing courses for Aboriginal women in Western Australia. She returned to nurse in Western Australian country hospitals after obtaining high qualifications in her nursing studies, and later became the Matron of Leonora Hospital, a position she held until her retirement in late 1990. (Source: History of Distance Education in Western Australia: 1918-1993)


The Correspondence School was moved from Claremont Teachers' College to Bay Road, Claremont, and to another building in Stirling Highway, Claremont. This move was necessitated because the military required the Teachers' College.


In February and March the Japanese invaded the Australian Territory of Papua and launched air attacks on Northern Australia including Broome in northern Western Australia.


After the bombing of Broome, many children in Perth were evacuated to the country. Correspondence lessons were seen as a way of catering for these primary and secondary aged students.

Enrolments of students working from homes in rural areas increased by almost 700 students, and Correspondence School materials were made available to hundreds of other city children who had enrolled in small rural schools.


The Correspondence School moved back to Claremont Teachers' College.

While specific groups of adults had previously studied with the School, in 1945 they formally became able to study a range of subjects through the School. These groups included those adults who wanted to:

  • prepare for the Junior Certificate Examination.
  • study correspondence lessons from the Perth Technical College.
  • study some academic units for the Nurses Entrance Exam.

In October ninety Correspondence School students (girls and boys) visited Perth to participate in Rotary Youth Week. Students were accommodated with families from the East Claremont Practising School which was situated next to Claremont Teachers' College.


World War 11 was in its final stages in August and September. The war in Europe concluded in May, however the war in Asia and the Pacific continued. The USA dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945. A formal surrender was signed on 2 September and the war officially ended.

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