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Western Australia - Archival Item

Item 070 - School Journal (1948 - 1956)

Burnbrae Glen, Byford

Reference No
Legal Status
State Records Office of Western Australia Reference code

Item 070 - 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 on 2 February 1948. This school building was on land leased from the Burnbrae Presbyterian Children's Home. It covers years when polio was a health problem and 'educational films' came to Burnbrae.


Access Conditions



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.

The school journal reported that the 1948 school year began with 28 children in the younger grades of the government school taking their lessons in the Playroom at the Burnbrae Presbyterian Children's Home. On 8 June 1948 students went to Araleun and Canning Dam and on 18 June they began making gardens at the school. The children from the Junior Red Cross Circle performed on the radio and it was broadcast on 20 July 1948.

On 28 July 1948 an officer from the Health Department sprayed the school as a precaution against 'Paralysis'. It was reported that Burnbrae 'once again' won the wildflower competition at the Perth Town Hall. The children went to the Royal Show on 8 October 1948.

With an outbreak of measles at the Home in November 1948, the Head Teacher recorded a decision to exclude local children from the school and keep teaching only the children from the Burnbrae Presbyterian Children's Home.

It was reported that on 13 July 1949, children had individual interviews and group testing with the Child Guidance Officer.

On 10 August 1949, it was noted that members of the Presbyterian Children's Homes Committee visited the new school building. On 19 September, children visited the Perth Town Hall to see a display of wildlife and on 7 October they went to the Royal Show.

On 17 November 1949, children from Burnbrae Presbyterian Children's Home went to the Orphans' Picnic. On 8 December, the school children went to a 'Theatre Party' in Perth. The school journal reported that this was Mr Green's final year as Head Teacher.

A new Head Teacher started on 31 January 1950 and obtained a 35mm projector to show educational films to the students. As there were no blockout blinds at the school, it was reported that he showed these films in the evening at the Burnbrae Presbyterian Children's Home. The Mobile Film Unit visited for the first time on 8 June 1950, with films that related to social studies and Hygiene courses, according to the school journal. These visits were monthly, and Burnbrae staff and some local parents also came along to watch.

On 7 September 1950 one child was taken to the Lady Lawley Cottage for speech therapy and others were taken to the Perth X-Ray Clinic for tuberculosis testing. As in the previous year, it was reported that the children went to the Town Hall to see the Wildlife show.

On 13 December 1950, all children were examined by the Medical Officer. The journal stated that the year ended with a school concert and party.

Burnbrae School reopened on 30 January 1951 with 42 students.

The journal recorded a visit of the Rev. J Boon, who was the supervisor of the Burnbrae Presbyterian Children's Home, on 8 February 1951. Rev. Boon arranged with the school to have religious instruction every Wednesday morning. Rev. Watts from the Church of England gave Anglican children religious instruction monthly on a Friday.

On 3 May 1951, the journal noted that children gave a Pageant in celebration of Jubilee Day and Rev Boon presented a flag to the school.

On 29 June 1951, the Head Teacher reported that 17 children had been admitted in the first half of the year and commented on what he saw as their capability: '3 are mentally deficient, 1 has a severe speech defect, 3 have been absent from school for periods of up to six months, and another child of 11 has missed some years of school because of infantile paralysis.' He wrote that the Child Guidance Section had tested these children and given 'valuable advice.'

On 27 September 1951, the journal recorded that the school won a first and second prize in the Perth Town Hall flower show. The school concert and party were held on 20 December 1951.

When school started again on 4 February 1952 the Head Teacher noted that 3 children from the Burnbrae Presbyterian Children's Home who had 'done particularly good work' in their Standard (Grade) 7 correspondence lessons were going to attend Girdlestone High School and take a domestic science course. The Head Teacher also reported that 13 children had been transferred from the Home.

On 7 February 1952 it was reported that the school was closed because of the death of King George VI and on 24 March 1952 the Head Teacher requested that IQ tests be held at the school.

On 9 May 1952, the school journal noted that 14 children from the Burnbrae Presbyterian Children's Home were absent from school because they went to Perth to be fitted for shoes.

On 26 September 1952, it was recorded that two prizes were won at the Wild Flower show in Perth. The children from the Burnbrae Presbyterian Children's Home went to the Royal Show on 7 October 1952 and attended another 'outing which had been organised for a number of Children's Homes' on 20 November 1952.

The school again won two first prizes at the Wildflower Show in September 1953, according to the journal. The school was closed on 7 and 8 October 1953 for the Royal Show and on 9 October 1953 because of the visit to WA of the Governor General, Sir William Slim.

On 17 October 1953, the journal reported that children participated in the Schools Sports day at Mundijong, the first time for 'many years' that Burnbrae had been present at that event. It was a successful day, with the Burnbrae senior group winning a shield and pennant, and a cup and pennant won by the junior group.

On 20 October 1953 it was noted that the School Nurse visited and found all 20 girls and 14 boys 'clean'. Dr Stang (medical officer) examined the children on 10 November 1953. On that same day, a craft work entered by the school in the Byford Show was stolen.

Children from the Burnbrae Presbyterian Children's Home were recorded as going to the Orphans' Picnic on 19 November 1953. The Vocational Guidance branch visited the school on 10 December 1953.

When school re-opened on 8 February 1954, it was reported that the children from the Burnbrae Presbyterian Children's Home were quarantined until 15 February because of a case of polio. Armadale Health Authorities sprayed around the school on 3 March 1954.

On 11 March 1954 the journal recorded that senior boys helped the Head Teacher by carrying water while he burnt a fire break.

In October and November 1954 outbreaks of chicken pox among students were noted. On 21 December 1954, the children from the Burnbrae Presbyterian Children's Home were recorded as having left school to attend a Christmas party elsewhere.

In July 1955 two visits to the school from Miss Watts and Mrs Creed of the Vocational Guidance branch of the Education Department were noted in the school journal. Mr Turnbull, the school dentist also visited. In September of that year, the school again had a 'high standard' of exhibits at the Byford Show and all children had 6 October 1955 as a holiday for the Royal Show. Children from the Burnbrae Presbyterian Children's Home were recorded as having left school on 21 December for their 1955 Christmas holiday.

Over the years there had been occasional notes in the school journal about the relationship between the school and the Burnbrae Presbyterian Children's Home. On 2 May 1956 the Head Teacher wrote that cooperation between them was 'excellent' and 'a very welcome change from previous years' though 'Home girls' in grades 4 to 6 were 'the only children who are late for school' and they had had their 'third and final warning' about this.

Some children at the Home went to a 'Special School' but when transport was not available they went to the government school at Burnbrae. On 6 June 1956 the Head Teacher wrote that the 'permanency' of these children at the local school depended on whether or not the 'Home' would continue to transport them to the Special School. The journal shows that the Head Teacher thought the Home was 'not overinclined to continue' the transport. On 25 June 1956, the journal recorded that the children from Burnbrae Presbyterian Children's Home were being transferred to Benmore. On 11 July 1956 the Head Teacher pasted an item from The WA Presbyterian which had printed this news into the school journal.

On 13 August 1956, it was reported that children in grades 4 to 6 were taken to see two Gilbert and Sullivan operettas - Trial by Jury and HMS Pinafore. On 20 October 1956, the school came second at the Schools Sports at Mundijong and on 24 October the children gave a concert in the evening which 'was a great success' with 67 visitors coming 'from near and far' according to the Head Teacher's journal, which finished on this date, with a note that the Burnbrae Presbyterian Children's Home would start to 'lose children as from 1st December'.

Prepared by: Debra Rosser