• Archival Item

Item 069 - School Journal, Burnbrae Glen, Byford

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Please contact the State Records Office of Western Australia:

Postal Address: 25 Francis Street, Perth, WA 6000

Phone: (08) 9427 3600

Email: sro@sro.wa.gov.au

Website: https://www.wa.gov.au/organisation/state-records-office-of-western-australia/research-using-state-archives

Reference Number

Quote this number to access your records: State Records Office of Western Australia Reference code, AU WA S3615- cons1203 069

Records Location


Item 069 – school journal is a foolscap size book, hand-written by the Head Teacher of the Burnbrae School. It has information about the Burnbrae Presbyterian Children’s Home and the children from that Home. The journal starts at the opening of the government school in a cottage at Burnbrae Presbyterian Children’s Home, on 9 June 1941 with 20 students. Individual children are named. The journal records accidents and absences or educational matters, and sometimes has very personal remarks about children. Outings such as going to the pictures, or participation in gymkanas etc are also described. Enrolments and average attendances are given and there are also some general remarks about the students. .

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The Burnbrae Glen school journal is arranged in date order, charting the Head Teacher’s comments as each year unfolded. The following items that are most relevant to people who were in out of home care at the Burnbrae Presbyterian Children’s Home are outlined below, in date order. Remarks about particular children are not included here. People who wish to see if they or someone they know is mentioned should request the file from the State Records Office of WA.

On 20 March 1942, the teacher wrote: ‘The fighting and squabbling among these home children, is a regular daily feature. I am greatly in disfavour with them because I try to keep something like order among them.’ And on 10 April: ‘These children from the home will finish up by sending me to Claremont. They know neither law nor order. I have all I can do to keep the place fairly quiet to work in.’

On 8 September 1942 the enrolment of ‘3 coloured children’ was noted along with news that the ‘children of the home had all been in trouble up at the home over some happening or other at the meal table. At 2 o’clock Matron came in and asked me to cane certain ones on her behalf.’ It was reported in the journal that no-one was caned, but there was a lot of crying and ‘mass hysteria’.

On 25 September 1942 it was recorded that a measles epidemic at the Home had quarantined all children from there for two weeks.

A new teacher started on 29 March 1943 and reported that the children were ‘all very backward and unruly’ but that they should ‘settle down if firmly handled.’ By 9 April 1943 the teacher wrote that the children had settled down and seemed to be interested in their lessons. On 7 May, she reported that she was ‘abused’ in the street about the children’s conduct on their way home from school. On 6 August 1943 a welfare officer called to ask about the behaviour of the children and the teacher asked for the welfare officer to ‘look them over herself as most of them were very dirty.’

On 27 October 1944 the pads, woodwork and sewing from children were entered in the Byford Show and ‘gained 8 firsts and 5 seconds’.

On 31 January 1945 the 39 children enrolled at the school were examined by Dr Anderson. On 16 February, they had a visit to Plaimar Farm to see the distillation of lavender.

On 2 March 1945, 8 children from the Presbyterian Children’s Home went to the children’s hospital for treatment.

On 5 October 1945 most children were absent with mumps. On 19 October two children from the Presbyterian Children’s Home were absent with whooping cough. By 26 October 1945 it was reported that children from the Presbyterian Children’s Home had mumps, whooping cough and chicken pox.

On 4 February 1946, the school journal reported a new Head Teacher and 36 children enrolled. The Minister for Education, Mr John Tonkin (later a Premier) opened the school officially on 27 March 1946. Matron Ing of the Presbyterian Children’s Home also attended the opening. The visitors had afternoon tea at the Presbyterian Children’s Home afterwards, and the children were granted a school holiday for the next day.

On 9 August 1946 it was reported that the older children from the Presbyterian Children’s Home went to Fremantle to visit HMS Comet.

A new Head Teacher took up the post at the beginning of the 1947 school year and recorded a discussion on 28 March 1947 with the welfare officer from the Presbyterian Children’s Home about the ‘lack of punctuality’ of children.

On 30 May 1947 a Junior Red Cross Circle started at the school.

On 11 July 1947, Mrs D Irving from the Presbyterian Children’s Home was appointed as assistant teacher at the school. On 6 August 1947 it was reported that Matron Ing ‘terminated her appointment’ at the Presbyterian Children’s Home. The Head Teacher noted that ‘Miss Clarke now has charge of the children…and has promised close co-operation with the school.’ By September 1947 , the journal noted that punctuality was improving and the school won prizes with its entries in the Wildflower Competition. The children from Burnbrae went to the Royal Show.

In November 1947, the children went on a school outing to Araleun and Canning Dam. The children from Burnbrae finished school on 12 December 1947 so that they could go to a National Fitness Camp at Point Peron. The last day of school for them was reported to be a Garden Party at the swimming pool.

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