Keith and Lin Teaching in Australia in 1960's (just another tour story)

 Keith & Lin were up here near Townsville, teaching at Giru back in the early days when they first started out as teachers. They explained how it was for teachers and students back in the 1950 & 1960's and what it was like for some of those more remote schools that did not have the resources that the larger schools and population centre's had. Keith taught wood & metal work skills and Lin home economics cooking & sewing etc. I never realised that this was part of the curriculum of those times; the remote schools did not have the necessary teaching facilities. I could imagine that the expense of building such facilities for such a small number of students located across Country Queensland could not be justified. But that won't stop us - in steps Australia's can do attitude of those times. The Queensland Government purpose built rail carriages, so they could provide the facilities at these remote locations, needless to say they were not the most ideal living and teaching arrangements by today’s standards. Keith would have his admin list to action before they turned up at any given location. He would order ahead of their arrival the stores, rations and equipment they would need for their stay at each location, which was normally around 6 to 7 weeks. While other schools with the facilities would learn over the period of a year or 2. The remote schools got there opportunity to learn the skills in a consolidated, intensive 6 week period. When Keith and Lin were in Town, that’s what the students did every day all day. They would park the carriage down a siding location, of the main line and children would turn up each and every day for Keith & Lin to teach them as much as they could. They would teach 7 schools in the one year, places like Saint Lawrence, Cabela, Mary bar and Giru. Keith would book the engine necessary to tow the carriages to the next location in advance sometimes allowing 2 days to get to the next location and set up. The schools knew they were coming 12 months in advance and they would have to cram the learning into those children so they could give up a 6 week period for Keith and Lin to do their thing. Their accommodation was also built into the carriage which Lin describes as the smallest bedroom she has ever known, picture how they live on a submarine and that’s close to the way these teachers lived. The carraiges were not air-conditioned, so the North Queensland heat along with the flies and mosquitos were an ongoing issue and fact of life you just learned to live with. Keith told me, he would fold up his bed in the morning and the whiteboard was pulled down in front of the folded up bed (ready to teach). Remembering that the stoves on the home economics carriage were wood stoves. So Keith being the gentlemen he was would reload the wood in the right area for Lin to use the next day. I said where did you eat, they said out of the home economics carriage of course. There was no special allowance to go eating out every night. Where were your toilets and showers I asked? Lin told me they did have their own water basin the smallest she has ever seen. The toilet was often the one at the railway station. I would have imagined not always that close bye, the shower they told me, was often at the local pub! I said what did you do for entertainment and one of the oldies on the Tour said each other, great laughter all around remembering this was where this married couple first met. Amazingly Lin had to give up teaching when she married Keith as the terms of employment for woman teachers back in those days, did not allow her to Marry Keith and continue teaching. They often did extra classes on weekends and after hours for the local adult population. Keith’s skills and machines were often put to work for doing little jobs that were needed around the town. He recalled that at one location all the children bar one were related to each other eyebrows and laughter around the table as he told that one. They both said the hours were long and they were kept very busy but they were great times. They said a big part of that were the people in those country towns and communities, they were fantastic people, on that point nothing much has changed in those rural communities of Australia.