BETTY’S VIEW: Remembering the days of the old schoolyard
THE clang of the brass school bell always shattered the silence at Mullet Creek State School, calling all students to assemble in front of the school steps.
First we unfurled the Australian flag and said “I honour my God, I serve my King, I salute my flag”.
Then we marched into school singing one of the chosen songs, usually English ones such as The British Grenadiers.
Photos of King George and Queen Elizabeth, Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret adorned our school walls.
Our subjects back then were very different to what I have been told is being taught in schools now.
History, geography, compositions, dictation, algebra, Latin roots, times tables were some of the subjects.
For tables we learned by rote on the front veranda.
One teacher used to bring us inside and fire 20 tables at us and for every one we missed or wrote an incorrect answer, we got a whack around the legs with a blackboard ruler.
Some of us didn’t get any whacks, or just one or two, but I felt sorry for those who had low scores.
We girls had to do sewing, starting off with a sampler that contained every kind of embroidery stitch and we also learned how to patch and darn.
Our school requirements were basic - slates that fitted into a slot in our eight-pupil desks.
We used slate pencils and I used to sharpen mine on the rough leaves that grew on a bush beside the river.
Our pen work was done a pen dipped into ink in an ink well on the desk.
We were issued with a school reader, and we bought a New Testament bible from a visiting minister for 3 pence.
A great school picnic was held at the end of the school year. We lined up to receive a prize book, a bag of stone fruit and some lollies.
Because of the war books were scarce, and the variety of suitable stories were limited.
A school friend and I always battled it out for top place every exam, none more so than at the end of the year when prize books were chosen by students according to where they came in the exam.
She and I were both avid readers and the book choice was important for us.