tudy, teaching and research in the history of education


Naomi Rosh White
The school as `family': the `feminine' in progressive educational thinking and practice.
Progressivism has been associated with social reform and the freeing of children (and teachers) from the strictures of pedagogical practices which ignore children's social and emotional development and needs. Progressive educational ideas have taken many forms, from the mysticism of the theosophists to the pragmatism of John Dewey and the liberationism of latter day protagonists such as John Holt and Paulo Freire. More recently, attention has been drawn to the gendered origins of some of the educational ideas which gained currency in the mid to late 1800s, particularly the feminisation of pedagogical theory and practice.1 This feminisation is reflected in the metaphor of the school as `family'.

Many schools describe themselves as families. A cursory examination of a variety of school prospectuses, newsletters and other publicity materials reveals the pervasiveness of this metaphor. A variety of explanations could be offered for its use. The age of people for whom schools provide a service and the ascription of `in loco parentis' responsibility to teachers and school administrators could be one explanation. Another could be the predominance of women in the teaching profession. Finally, there are the assumptions which structure particular educational ideologies. In this paper, the connection between progressive educational ideas, the metaphor of the family and the notion of the teacher as `mother' will be explored. This will be done by considering some of the practices and philosophical underpinnings of Australia's longest surviving progressive school, Preshil: The Margaret Lyttle Memorial School.

Preshil was established in the Melbourne suburb of Kew by Margaret (Greta) Lyttle (1875-1944) in the 1930s for children in their first years of schooling. Greta had left her position as a junior mistress at St Andrew's, a Presbyterian school which had been established by John Lawton under the influence of the utopianism of H. G. Wells, the psychoanalytic theories of Homer Lane and the educational practices of A.S. Neill.2 Soon after her departure from St Andrew's, three families (whose older children had attended St Andrew's asked Greta to teach their younger children in her home in Barkers Road, Kew. Greta agreed, and this informal arrangement with a few families grew to a school with an enrolment of eighty children and a small intake of boarders one year later. The Preshil Preparatory School was registered as a non-denominational private school in 1933. As the need for space became more pressing, the school moved to Arlington, a larger family home, and continued with boarding and day pupils until Greta's death on 2 August 1944.

Ulla Johansson
Gender in Grammar School Student Societies: Sweden 1925-1950 .
How do girls become women, and what makes men of boys? What meanings do categories such as `woman' and `man' represent? Such issues are central in feminist research, and the answers often emphasise that gender identity is formed in complex processes which are structurally determined at the same time as the individual is active in the construction of her/his own femininity or masculinity. Gender also interacts with other structuring principles, such as social class and ethnicity.2 Moreover, the significations of the categories of `man' or `woman' are not stable, but tend to vary with time as well as with place. In other words, there is not one definition only of masculinity and femininity, but several competing ones.3

How, then, have `femininity' and `masculinity' been defined at different times within the school world, and what impact has education had in the reproduction or transformation of gender relations? One crucial factor is the way boys and girls have been spatially located within the different parts of the school system.4 During the nineteenth century, the Swedish school system was segregated with regard to social class and gender. Most boys and girls only went to elementary school for a few years. Boys who aimed higher had to attend a state grammar school, läroverk, and most came from middle class backgrounds.5 Most girls seeking an education above the elementary level attended private girls' schools. In the 1870s the universities had in theory opened up for women, but in practice there was no easy road to higher education for them, since the studentexamen, the final grammar school examination, was the entrance requirement for higher education. In order to qualify for university studies a woman had to take this exam as an external candidate at a grammar school or to attend one of the few private girls' schools which had been entitled to execute it.

At the end of the nineteenth century Sweden rapidly changed from an agrarian to an industrial capitalist society. Labourers organised and demanded the right to vote. A women's movement arose claiming women's right, on the same terms as men, to paid work, education and political influence. After World War I several reforms were carried through to democratise society. Women academics won the right to teach in grammar schools and to be appointed as professors. In 1921 women's suffrage was introduced. And, in 1927, state grammar schools opened up to girls.6

After 1927 boys and girls were sitting side by side in the grammar school classrooms.7 This was instrumental in the establishment of a new gender order. When girls and boys were educated in the same rooms, it was more difficult to uphold the existing distinctions between them, and easier to redefine the concepts of masculinity and femininity. The intellectual capacity of girls could, for instance, be directly compared to that of boys, demonstrating that a good pupil was not necessarily a male pupil.8 There were other mechanisms tending to reproduce the power relations between the sexes. Even when the organisational segregation of the sexes in the school system had been abolished, it is likely that it lingered on behind the walls of the classroom. Boys and girls were still kept apart in handicraft and woodwork, and in gym lessons and other forms of physical education. Furthermore, boys and girls may have lived in different worlds even when they sat in the same classrooms.9

To go to a state grammar school was still a privilege of the few. While the proportion of pupils passing the final exam had slowly increased, fewer than 4500 out of a total of 83000 pupils did so in 1950.10 For these few, a considerable amount of cultural capital was invested in grammar school education. This institutionalised cultural capital was further augmented in student societies, established for various purposes. When the state grammar schools began to admit girls in 1927, some, although not all, of the student societies did so too.

This paper deals with the subcultures which developed in these societies. The aim is to explore the impact of the presence or absence of girls on the societies' cultures, how masculinity and femininity were constructed in these subcultures, and what kind of symbolic capital was cultivated there. To address these issues, I examine three student societies in a state grammar school in Härnösand, a small town in northern Sweden: Aurora, a temperance society (1925-1931); Härnösand gymnasieförbund (HGF), the Härnösand Grammar School Society (1929-1937); and Naturvetarklubben (The Science Club), for pupils interested in the natural sciences (1941-1950).

A record was usually kept at the meetings of these societies, documenting what was said and done.11 Since the record was usually read out and approved at the following meeting, the records can be seen not only to have reported what was going on in the societies, but to have affected the youth culture and the students' self identities developed within them.

Andrew Spaull
Federal Government policies and the vocational training of World War One veterans: a comparative study.
This study arises out of a renewed interest in vocational education and the opportunities that the World War I period offered for federal government support to it as part of State formation. The study is influenced by earlier studies on two matters: inter-governmental relations in Australian education, and the impact of war on education and training. A neglected issue in these studies is the federal government's involvement in the vocational retraining of war veterans. An earlier study examined the politics of the Commonwealth Reconstruction Training Scheme after World War II, but it did not attempt to link this to the first period of vocational training which accompanied the aftermath of World War I.1 In exploring this link it became apparent that parallel schemes occurred in other federal systems, namely Canada and USA, and this comparative feature of policy development becomes the central theme of this study.2 Ultimately it attempts to provide an explanation as to why the Australian scheme for World War I veterans was significantly more extensive than those in Canada or the USA.

Contextual framework
A number of contexts present themselves in a study of this kind. Two are obvious political contexts; the other two are less obvious, but are important considerations in any discussion of war veterans. The contexts are: 1. In the federal systems of government of North America and Australia, education is a state/provincial responsibility, and in the early twentieth century the sovereign rights of states in exercising this responsibility was defended vigorously by political and educational authorities. The differences between the three nations lies not in the constitutional authority for education but in their different systems of educational governance. In Canada and USA the authority for school provision is delegated by the states to local bodies. In Australia that authority, including the provision of most aspects of vocational education and institutional training, is subsumed into the states' bureaucracy. Thus any intervention in education and training by federal governments was by way of other constitutional powers, in particular, defence or war measures powers, supplemented by intergovernmental financial agreements between federal and state/provincial authorities. By invoking these constitutional powers in time of national emergency, federal governments were able to advance vocational rehabilitation benefits to their veterans.
2. All three nations had begun to develop elaborate policies on vocational education before World War I. The policies had been driven by the recognition that formal vocational education and training was necessary to substantially enhance the skill base of modern industrial or industrialising nations. To encourage this pre-war trend of state intervention in vocational education, the federal governments in the USA (through the Smith-Hughes Act, of 1917) and Canada (in the Technical Education Act, of 1919) provided both promotion and financial assistance for its expansion in the states/provinces.3 In contrast, Australia, a younger federal system and arguably with vocational education systems then closer to British than to USA or Canadian practice, relied on the states, not the agency of federal power, to promote vocational education in the school and post-secondary systems.
3. The third context is that of the status of veterans' benefits, in particular for those who were disabled. The American experience of pensions for Civil War veterans' shaped US attitudes at the end of the war, but for Canada and Australia the notion of war veterans benefits is a twentieth century phenomenon. So, too, is the notion of citizen armies, for World War I was Canada's and Australia's first major excursion into mass military mobilization. They chose voluntary enlistment in contrast to the American or European `conscription' models, although by the end of the war, only Australia had resisted the compulsory call-up of its men to replace the Allied forces in Europe. Moreover, Canada and Australia, as senior members of the British Empire had little to learn from the Mother-Country's experience in the treatment of disabled veterans. Great Britain's long century of relative peace from Waterloo to 1914, had not produced anything more substantial than the time-honoured `grace and favour' pension for war service. The only variation in policy was the introduction of retraining and employment for a few disabled veterans of the Boer War under the auspices of Soldiers' and Sailors' Help Society workshops.4 Canada and Australia, which had sent small contingents to the war, did not have sufficient numbers of wounded to require the enactment of special provisions. Vocational training as a form of veterans' repatriation was, therefore, a policy sown on virgin soil for all three nations, as well as most other combatants of the war. As U.W. Lamkin, director of the Federal Bureau of Vocational Education (FBVE) told a veterans' conference at Washington in 1920:
It is a new work, not only in the United States, but in the World. ... But not until the war with Germany had begun had any national undertaken the salvaging of what was left of a man after he returned from service, and the training of what was left, that he might again do a man's work, look other men square in the face, and draw a man's wages because he did the man's work, and not because he had been disabled. The work of vocational rehabilitation is, therefore, entirely separate and distinct from that of payment of money compensation or medical treatment.5
Of course, what he did not admit, was that the USA's later entry into the war (April 1917) allowed America to profit from the policy and practice of the Allies, and particularly Canada, and their responses to the training needs of disabled service people.6
4. The final context is related to war casualties and the technology of warfare. Europeans, North Americans and Australians at that time perceived the needy war veteran as the disabled survivor - the amputee, the blinded, the maimed. Warfare before the twentieth century produced the following types of military casualties: the dead; those who died from infection or casualty surgery; or those physically incapacitated who returned to wander the streets with a wooden stump, a missing arm or an eye patch. The first year of the European war produced its fair share of the latter, but with the increasing domination of new killing artefacts, shells instead of cannonball and shot, machine guns and barbed wire instead of bolt action rifles and bayonets, and chemical gas and trench disease, war disablement (as well as the number of deaths) dramatically changed. Moreover, the prolonged periods of bombardment which accompanied the stalemate on the Western Front produced new `invisible diseases' of mental disorder and battlefield exhaustion. The Canadians and the Australians were highly vulnerable to both forms of disablement. As the Allies' shock troops they suffered horrifically from the generals' tactics; as well, they had to endure the hell of trench life as long as, if not longer, than the French or British. The American Expeditionary Force experienced little of both in either duration or intensity.7 The end result was that the relatively few casualties who incurred `traditional' forms of disablement (loss of limb or sight) surprised the public officials who were charged with rehabilitation.8 On the other hand the voluminous number of cases associated with cardiac and pulmonary disorders, and particularly the problems associated with war neurosis, were not fully anticipated by the training schemes until well after the war had ended.

Suzanne Parry & Julie Wells
Schooling for assimilation: Aboriginal children in the Northern Territory, 1939-1955.
In the Northern Territory only a few Aboriginal children had ever attended a school by 1939. These were children who either lived on mission stations or had been removed from their communities and families to live in childrenís institutions. For the remainder of Aboriginal children their schooling, or lack of it, had rarely been an issue for governments. A decade later, however, the federal government began to establish schools for Aboriginal children throughout the Northern Territory wherever it could be shown that there was a minimum of twelve children of school age who could attend. Why did governments turn their attention to Aboriginal children in the remotest areas in the Northern Territory and decide that it was time for them to go to school?

Certainly this change in policy corresponded with the advent of assimilationism as the guiding discourse that would frame government action in the coming decades. In 1992, in an interview on the ABC television's Lateline, Professor Mary Kalantzis claimed the introduction of assimilation was a watershed in Aboriginal history.1 For the first time since the arrival of white settlers in Australia, she argued, Aboriginal people were acknowledged as intelligent and capable of change. In Kalantzis's view, assimilationism must be placed in the context of the previous and sustained period during which scientific racism and social Darwinism dominated the discourse about first nations' peoples.

Assimilation policies have received some attention from historians, although generally schooling has not been closely examined. Tony Austin's work indicates that government policy for Aboriginal children of mixed descent was assimilationist long before it the policy was applied to all Aboriginal people.2 Julie Wells' detailed analyses of assimilation demonstrate that it emerged from a complex interaction between global concerns regarding indigenous peoples and specific concrete features of the political and ideological climate.3 And Anna Haebich's moving account of Aboriginal people in south-west Western Australia in For Their Own Good shows that they themselves often sought to used schooling for their children as part of their attempts to improve their living conditions.4

Our purpose here is to elaborate and to complicate received understandings of the way in which assimilationism influenced the establishment of schooling for Aboriginal children. With growing interest in politics of identity in Australia it is worthy of greater attention than it has received to date. To make some sense of this awakening of interest in providing schools for Aboriginal children in the latter part of the 1940s, we need not only to understand the changes in thinking which influenced the policy makers and the public, but to be aware of the capacity and the resources of the administration to respond to demands for change at any moment in such a period of transition. The story of why Aboriginal children were finally sent to school is part of a larger story that we tell here, about the policies which guided Aboriginal children's schooling and the capacity of the administration to meet the policy objectives. The protagonists in this story are not the Aboriginal children, but the bureaucrats and the policy makers who were making decisions about Aboriginal children and school.

Martin Sullivan
Mr Mackie's War
There is, unfortunately, little or nothing in the training of teachers that catches popular imagination. (Peter Board, 12 March 1912)
'Seven miles out and you were in the bush' was Lewis Rodd's memory of Sydney in the early decades of the century. Yet `the murmur of the breezes', Banjo Paterson's remembrance of the bush, seldom penetrated the lanes around Darlinghurst where Rodd spent his boyhood. Three suburbs south-west from Darlinghurst, in Chippendale, `the music of the silent bush', Randolph Bedford's term, was as distant as the stars in the Southern Cross for the young women and men who were listening to lectures in the rooms of the Teachers College. Built on land resumed from `the Blackwattle Swamp' in the Blackfriars estate, the College had assumed the name of the school, Blackfriars, some of whose buildings it occupied in 1906.1

The takeover by the College had been without controversy, unlike the building and occupation of the school in 1884-5. Then, with deliberate and unerring provocation, the Department of Public Instruction had situated a new public school among the streets and lanes of an area dominated by Catholics, and the new school would share a boundary with St Benedict's Catholic church and its parish school. And while the children of the convent could not have known that the new state school's architect thought he had produced a masterpiece in the Gothic style, these Catholic boys and girls did know that Blackfriars with its two storeys, sloping roofs pitched like steeples, round, turreted towers and ecclesiastically narrow, longitudinal windows was reminiscent of the medieval castles in their story books, and was so forbidding that it seemed to frown upon them as they jousted with one another around their own meagre buildings. Or as the Catholic Archbishop, Patrick Moran, with wondrous pathos, told a parish audience on his first visit to St Benedict's in 1884, `it [the uncompleted public school] casts its eyes on your little home of religion and science'.

Moran's exhortation that the `lesson you should learn from this is to have nothing to do with such Public Schools'2 could have been a platform for a dynamic history of Australian education for the students at Blackfriars. But the uncompromising bitterness of which Moran was an exemplar (though in 1884 he was a recent arrival in Sydney) was sufficient cause to limit the history of Australian education offered in the Teachers College to `several lectures ... upon the history of education in New South Wales', while the prescribed textbooks were The Republic of Plato, `and a series of extracts from Ausonius, Capella, and the Theodosian code.'3

For sixty years before Moran arrived, Australian colonists had been battling over who should teach their children and what. Building Blackfriars beside a Catholic school epitomised those battles as it replicated similar examples across NSW. Twenty-six years later and three years before the outbreak of World War 1, when they buried Moran in the crypt of St Mary's Cathedral in Sydney, nothing had changed.4 Indeed eight months before his death Moran widened the differences and sharpened the tensions when he hosted (at St Mary's) the first Catholic Educational Conference of NSW. The gathering honoured his long advocacy for Catholic education and men and women from the Catholic teaching orders voted to observe 24 May as Australia Day.5 By their action Moran's nuns and brothers were challenging the ruling class hegemony of the Protestants that had for some years been trying to invent a tradition by forcing public schools to host a ceremonial observance of the day and to call it Empire Day. Moran only saw one Australia Day but for that occasion St Mary's Cathedral flew the flags of Ireland and Australia, a marvellous valedictory for the old Irishman who, the next morning, must have eaten his breakfast triumphantly as he read the Sydney Morning Herald with its headline `No Union Jack Flown'.6

These debates about what should be taught and by whom found their way from the cities where the policies were formulated to every one-pub town across the land. But if the bitter and destructive arguments about schooling carried into the pubs, violence seldom ensued. That was reserved for the war at work that was, comparatively, enormously more consequential and resonated through every facet of life. Working conditions (unlike those inside schools) governed everything: eating and sleeping; being paid, being sick, being old and being put-off. Physical combat as a companion to ideological and political dispute was reserved for the industrial warfare that these social relations engendered and that involved most Australians some of the time. In places like Broken Hill, the Illawarra district and the Hunter Valley and Newcastle, in the words of one former resident of the Hunter, `a state of war exists at all times'.7 In Broken Hill, the Barrier Daily Truth agreed: `a strike or lock-out is war-industrial war'.8 Withal the war in Europe had the effect of adding Sydney to those places where war was perennial.