What was the Greenethorpe Public School like more than 70 years ago?
Last week children at Greenethorpe Public School were delighted to have two special visitors.
Local residents Patti and Jack Chapple, who had both attended the school during their childhood, were able to answer many questions the children had previously prepared for them about the school in “the olden days.”
Question and Answer time.
As part of the school’s History program, the children are completing a unit of work, which explores changes in education with a focus on their own school.
Utilising the expertise and vast knowledge of locals in our community seemed a much more effective teaching and learning strategy than ploughing through history records.
The invitation was issued and Patti and Jack were very obliging and generous with their time.
A large number of varied and interesting questions were answered.
All students were totally engaged by the tales of yesteryear and were amazed by the prospect of riding a horse to school or not wearing shoes.
They couldn’t believe the toilets didn’t flush or that the stables were behind the primary room.
Cutting wood for the fire and no air-conditioning in the summer was also a shock to the children.
Drinking straight from a water tank, ink wells and no computers or television also came as a surprise. A tiny office, which is now a storage room and the many changes and additions to the buildings also interested the children.
The highlight of question time was a query about “the cane”. Having had some experience with being on the receiving end, Jack gave a descriptive blow-by-blow recount of what it looked like, how it was administered and the pain it produced when the strokes were delivered with vigour and accuracy.
The children were astonished by such cruelty and I am sure I could sense a feeling of great sympathy for Jack who assured them that the cane was used sparingly and only when necessary.
Jack also gave a vivid recount of evacuation practise during wartime, which was more of a military strategy to escape the buildings and get a long way from the school in case of Japanese bombing raids.
The afternoon finished with a tour of the school where children were shown the many additions and changes to the buildings and grounds.
Max Harris then presented Jack and Patti with a small gift in appreciation for their time and knowledge.
Thankyou Jack and Patti for a memorable history lesson.