Sepia Saturday Aug 9th 2014 – Photo with a chalk on slate label

The best I have to offer this week is a photo with a label handwritten in chalk on a slate. I have many such as this school photo but I will just include this one. Minyip State School 19231923In the 3rd back  row stands Florence Craine – the older girl in a braid trimmed blazer, there seem to be 2 others wearing a similar blazer (including her brother Ira reclining in front on the left) but we don’t know what they are. Florence would have been 16 when this photo was taken so we are surprised to see her still wearing a school uniform – wish I had asked her about it when she was still alive.

Born in Minyip, Vic – she attended this school as a student until she gained her Intermediate Certificate. She then took on another role as Student Teacher, and as she completed her training she went on to be a teacher in the school until marriage in 1932 determined her retirement. She was out of the work force for the next 13 years, when after WW2 a shortage of teachers in rural areas, saw the Head Master of the day Mr Charlie Campbell lure her back to the classroom in 1945. Her older child by then was a pupil at the school and a Grandma was called upon to mind the younger one. Florence rode her bike to school and the toddler travelled as far as Nanna’s on a home made wooden bike seat on the back. For a married woman with children to return to work was certainly rare in the 1940’s, especially in a small country town. She taught at the school until her retirement in 1972.

The other children in the photo would have been a mix of children of local farmers and from the families who had businesses or worked in the town. There were several rural schools around the district which provided education for many of the farmers’ sons and daughters.

I wonder if they knew the photo would be taken on that day – some of the girls have enormous bows in their hair, and the boys are nearly all in jackets. This was a year in the height of the depression, not long after the First World War and clothing items would still have been scarce, I imagine many of the children are wearing hand made items, or hand-me-downs, but they all certainly look very smart and contented.

Anyone viewing this post who wishes to know the names of other students – they are listed on this Flickr site

The Sepia Saturday theme for this week was much broader than I have here so you will find some very interesting tales at Sepia Saturday


16 thoughts on “Sepia Saturday Aug 9th 2014 – Photo with a chalk on slate label

    • School uniforms are still very much in vogue here in Oz, at least up until Year 10, after that in the State Schools at least, the students seem to have free choice of dress.

  1. Since I never had to wear a school uniform, but had friends that did, I often wondered wouldn’t it be fun to dress like that. Then I took a job in a bank where we were given uniforms, and I quickly discovered, not so much fun!

  2. There are actually 3 others in the trimmed uniform Florence is wearing & you can’t help but wonder. Honor Society? A vocal or instrumental quartet of some kind? Science Club? Forever a puzzle I guess. And I’m sure the children knew their photograph was going to be taken – they’re all dressed so neatly with every hair in place & decorated in some cases with bows & such.

  3. You’ve done very well to be able to identify almost all of those students. Some of them look quite old and wearing uniform must have been optional, at least for the girls, who are dressed in lots of different styles. Ira’s eyes look a bit odd until you realise he is wearing spectacles

    • Ira did have a turned eye – don’t know when it was surgically corrected. I was fortunate that Florence has named all the school photos I have, would have been used in displays in the home town from time to time.

  4. It’s always interesting how one photo can lead us down so many paths. It’s a mystery how your grandmother, aged sixteen, was still at school and in uniform. However, it’s heartening to read that she was ‘lured’ back into the classroom as a teacher years later. I’ve alwys thought it such a waste that highly trained women had to leave professions when they married.

    • I was a generation later – I was allowed to continue teaching but on marriage in 1960 had to resign from the permanent service, not eligible for promotion, sick leave, long service leave holiday pay, which were all afforded top single women an men. and of course as a woman, married or single the pay was less although I did the same job. Incidentally Florence is my husband’s mother, not my grandmother.

      • That was harsh. I didn’t start teaching until the 70’s andbiy then in UK things were better than post War. Apologies for assuming it was your grandmother; I don’t know where that came from.

  5. What a wonderfully upbeat photo. I love those floppy bows in the girls hair. Personally, I love school uniforms and think they serve excellently to keep an appropriate degree of modesty in the classroom.

  6. A great take on the theme – I love old school photos. I have to wonder if the embroidery on the girls’ dresses means anything, or if they were permitted to embellish their dresses for good behavior and such.

    • I don’t think there is any significance in the girls’ embroidery – it is something they would have learnt at school in those days, so may have decided to practise their skills at home, or maybe Mum or another relative had done it for them.

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