Teaching in remote communities
How teachers fared in one teacher schools depended on their efforts to become part of the community. Many teachers integrated into the local community while some remained strangers.
When John Woodcock opened the one teacher school at Binjour Plateau in the Gayndah district in 1913, he found that few parents or children could speak english. In the following year, he gave the parents free classes in reading, writing and arithmetic. He became very popular in that community for his efforts. When Woodcock proposed getting married in 1915, the parents urged the department to build a residence because they wanted him to stay in the district. The department approved the building of a residence.
Other teachers coped with the isolation of one teacher schools by taking great pride in them, making them a showpiece in the district. When Jane McEniery was transferred to the Greymare school in the Warwick district in 1930, she set about creating a school of which she could be proud, calling it 'my blue heaven'. She enlisted the help of the children to beautify the grounds.
Photograph: Anduramba State School, 1926. Teachers in isolated farming and pastoral communities like this often led a lonely existence.
Within a year she had the school looking, 'quite the beauty spot of the district' featuring:
- geometric garden beds bordered by painted rocks
- fish ponds
- stone ponds
- a tree-lined winding drive
- blue flowers growing in profusion
- blue painted rocks and other decorations in the gardens
- school rooms displaying large paper butterflies and birds all in shades of blue.
Teachers who failed to integrate into the local community may have found the remoteness of their school and the weight of being strangers a burden. Some were transferred or resigned.