2001 ASSLH conference – Caught in the community: Teachers’ lives in rural schools, 1880 to 1900

Glenda Strachan

University of Newcastle

This paper1 discusses the lives of teachers in remote, rural schools and examines the lack of distinction between their private lives and public work. The outcome of this could present a range of experiences from good to bad for the teacher. This experience was a gendered one as there were different social expectations for men and women and was influenced by the geography of the region, that is how far it was to family, friends and “civilised” company. Very little has been written about the lives of these “ordinary” teachers—more has been said about those who became the leaders of the profession or principals of schools. The lives of two women teachers in a closely settled region of New South Wales are used to illustrate the ways in which their paid employment in the Education Department had a profound impact on their private lives and how the perception of their private lives by the local community influenced their employment as teachers. In the cases examined one teacher marries into the local community while the other is forced through innuendo about her sexual propriety to leave the employ of the Department. The conclusion reached is that teaching offered women an occupation which could provide them with a rewarding working life or might trap them in a “savage place” with little hope of escape.

It is the archival documents that have led to this story. The School files in the Education Department reveal a wealth of detail about the daily lives of teachers, and this source is particularly important for uncovering the trials and tribulations, successes and agency of women teachers. Teachers wrote voluminously to the Education Departments and historians have found a wealth of evidence about daily lives in these documents.2 These documents reveal that “men and women teachers contested the hardship and loneliness of their private lives in the employ of the state”.3 Complaints about conditions in country districts from “reluctant young female teachers are legion”.4 In this paper I have used the School files of the New South Wales Department to highlight one aspect of daily life as a rural teacher—a darker side of being trapped in a community with few options for escape.

The need for teachers

The decision to make primary education compulsory in 1880 in New South Wales created a need for a large number of teachers. Most teachers passed through an apprenticeship system as pupil teachers, a system of training introduced in the 1850s and which remained the dominant training system until 1905. Students of 13 or 14 years old who had completed their primary education successfully were taken on as pupil-teachers and worked with experienced teachers. They sat for written examinations and had their practical skills assessed by the school inspectors who represented the top of the teaching hierarchy and were generally responsible for maintaining standards of education. Qualified ex-pupil teachers, often only 18 years of age, were given charge of small schools or worked as assistants in larger ones. Their performance was monitored and graded by the inspectors on their rounds.

The biggest attraction of this system was that it was cheap. There were more female applicants than males for teaching posts in the years 1881 to 1905. Lack of other employment opportunities for women of some education was one factor that propelled women into teaching (for whom the only other option in this period was nursing). In addition “their willingness to accept the poor pay and conditions of teaching” was seen as another very relevant factor. Men had more employment options and many “preferred the higher wages and status of business and professions other than teaching.”5

The women who took up teaching were generally the daughters of “respectable, moderately well-to-do working class or lower middle class parents.” Their fathers’ occupations included carpenter, shoemaker, printer, tradesman, carrier, sawmill proprietor, farmer, minister, teacher, grazier, stationmaster and clothier.6 These parents could afford to support their daughters through the early years of education and some could help support them financially through their training but they were by no means wealthy. Few of them were able to continue their training beyond that of pupil-teacher.

Pupil-teachers led a gruelling life characterised by large unruly classes and long hours that led to charges of sweated labour being made in parliament.7 The harshness of the teacher’s lives was such that “there is no doubt that the actual training and teaching experiences of pupil-teachers were judged hard even by nineteenth century standards.”8

Life in the community

The teachers’ life in the local community has sometimes been painted as a rosy one and this is certainly one side of the picture. Writing on the Richmond River District in New South Wales, Ramsland noted that “the teacher took his place by the mid 1870s as community leader with the clergyman and pastor, the local police magistrate and constable, the prominent businessmen, the postmaster and the editor of the local paper.”9 The teacher’s role was a complex one:

The local community expectations of the social role of the schoolmaster in the Richmond River district were completely dominated by two major factors; firstly, the provision of a model of behaviour that would enhance the moral standards of the community and secondly, participation in activities that would lead to the general advancement of the district or locality in economic, social or cultural terms.10

Undoubtedly this contribution to community life did occur in a larger town with its mix of industry, commerce and administration such as Dungog in the Upper Williams Valley, the area from which examples are drawn in this paper. By 1880, Dungog was a commercial metropolis with a population of over 400, growing to over one thousand a decade later.11 The Dungog Public School opened in 1851 and by 1889 had over 200 pupils and three staff members. In the following decades land, new buildings and a teacher’s residence were gradually provided and the school was linked to the town water supply and provided with electricity.12 In November 1888 the Roman Catholic order of St Joseph opened a convent school in Dungog. It was staffed by “girls” from the local areas who were “young and inexperienced both in teaching and school management as well as in life as a religious and needed to be nurtured and trained in all aspects of their new calling.”13

The women teachers in the public schools were equally young. Propriety was of the highest importance and the work of Miss Green, teacher at Wards River Public School, for example, was praised in the local newspaper: “She endeavours both by precept and example to inspire her pupils of the present, and pupils of the past, with a determination to be on a par with those favoured by town or city life, with greater social advantages”.14 At least two of the local young women recruited to teaching days came from the solid, prosperous commercial families of the town. Miss Lydia Newell, whose family conducted one of the major stores, began as a pupil-teacher in Dungog School in April 1888 and passed her teacher’s examination the following year. Similarly, Miss Elizabeth Skillen was the daughter of a leading businessman who supported her ambitions. She had a highly successful career in education, becoming one of the leading educationists of New South Wales. Appointed lecturer in English in 1906 to the new Sydney Teachers’ College, she became first head of the department to English and then, in 1936, warden of female students. 15

The public face that Ramsland discusses is undoubtedly male, with women teachers involved in suitable female activities. Little of these women’s community activity has been recorded except when they assisted the religious life of the community by serving as Sunday School teachers.16

Public employment and private life

Education historians such as Theobald and Steedman have addressed the link between everyday life and employment or the connection between the public and private spheres.17 Women teachers operated in the public as well as the private sphere:

The everyday world of the woman teacher in the employ of the state encompassed a daily journey out of her physical and moral enclosure within domestic space (notionally female space) and into the public domain (notionally male space). The masculine privilege of moving freely between domestic and public space, that is, without the threat of involuntary moral contamination, was bestowed upon the female teacher by bureaucratic edict.18

Yet these worlds were not distinct and separate as “the lady-schoolteacher journeyed daily between the two workplaces, each of which, of necessity, impinged upon the other.”19 Theobald details cases of women teaching in a school with their husband and tending to family needs through the door which separated the schoolroom from the classroom.20 In this way her traditional responsibilities within the home were reshaped. This is seen in the example of the teacher at Dusodie School discussed below. Indeed, “the crude technology of the public elementary school at mid-nineteenth century was the means by which woman’s traditional nurturing labour was repositioned in time and space in order to prosecute the grand nineteenth-century design of universal literacy and numeracy”.21 Teaching young children in a public setting was reconfigured as suitable women’s work, just as nursing was repositioned as almost exclusively women’s work.22

The bush school

The lives of these women differed depending on the physical location of the school to which one was assigned. While employment in a town like Dungog offered opportunities to work with other teachers, further one’s career and engage in a wide variety of social and community activities, this was not the life of teachers who were remote from such centres of activity and culture. A day’s ride from such towns could mean life in a group of households without public buildings, living in very poor accommodation and existing as the only educated person in the locality.

Life for school teachers who worked in the remote areas of the Australian colonies in the nineteenth century could be very hard. When they were 17 or 18 years old and had completed their apprenticeship, the newly qualified women and men were sent as teacher to a small school or as an assistant teacher at a larger school. Many women were sent to bush schools. Women teachers were used to fill unpopular, remote posts because men, with more occupational choices, were not willing to accept the uncertain conditions of the bush school.23 Indeed “the character of the bush teacher was quite clearly female, very likely young and no doubt inexperienced….Women dominated in the outback despite difficulties associated with accommodation, loneliness, isolation, low salary and lack of promotion.”24 In discussing a more sparsely settled coastal region, Townsend has noted that few of the young, single, male teachers who were posted to the schools on the Nambucca River in New South Wales intended to stay.25 Most women teachers faced a dearth of employment opportunities that prevented them from resigning and “instead they endured very low salaries and constantly requested transfers”.26 It was difficult to gain a transfer from these small schools. Teachers were needed to fulfil the demand for compulsory education yet these were unpopular posts. Those with higher levels of education had better prospects but female pupil teachers generally had few options. There was the possibility that they could progress through the teaching grades so that they could be in charge of larger schools but this was very difficult to achieve after being sent to a remote country school.27

Teachers had to collect the school fees and report if a family had insufficient income to pay fees, a position that must have caused friction in some communities. School buildings were usually crude and not conducive to concentration or learning. Made from corrugated iron or wooden slabs, with dirt floors, no windows and dark interiors, children sat on hard benches and endured the hot Australian summers.28 The physical condition of the Dusodie School building, for instance, was crude and typical of small bush schools. The school had an iron roof but no ceiling and in 1898 the inspector recommended that the school should have a ceiling as it was “intensely hot in the summer”. Conditions were so bad that in 1900 parents withdrew their children from the school until the poor state of the buildings was improved.29

The teacher’s life in these small, remote communities was not private. The public world of paid work merged with their private lives as there were few private places in these communities. Male teachers could be housed in the local hotel if there was one, but women had to be housed with local residents.30 Interaction with the community—for instance, whom they visited and how long they stayed—was public knowledge and “parents were quick to report any failings”.31 For women teachers this could be devastating as their private lives were judged by the local community and if found wanting the results could be ruinous. Letters could be sent by parents and community worthies to the inspector, Minister for Public Instruction or a member of parliament. The teacher would be called on to explain their conduct and rebut any allegations and an investigation could be held. The teacher’s job and livelihood was at stake. 32

Schools in the Upper Williams Valley

It was not only the “outback” teachers west of the Great Dividing Range who worked in schools which exhibited these characteristics and experienced this harsh and isolated life. In the days before roads were sealed, when no bridges forded flooded rivers and there was no electricity for internal and street lighting, remoteness could be a matter of living ten or fifteen miles from a small town. The ability to ride a horse was essential for the teacher. The Upper Williams Valley, with Dungog as the major town, was characterised by a plethora of small settlements. As the valley evolved towns like Munni, about eight miles from Dungog and the location for one of the cases in this paper, developed as small centres serving local farms. The larger settlements gained post offices, small schools and occasional church services.

The school of Dusodie, also the subject of particular study in this paper, served the communities of Wangat. Gold was discovered at Wangat and Upper Wangat, 20 and 26 miles north of Dungog. At Wangat machinery was brought in to crush the quartz and by 1881 there were 590 mines and an estimated 80 people living at both sites in tents and rough bark huts. Wangat was surveyed as a town in 1884 and had a school, hall and numerous houses in the 1880s and 1890s. Production fluctuated, however, and when the gold ran out the town quickly died and had only two houses in 1902.33 Dusodie was a typical bush school of less than twenty pupils in the 1890s. It was a world away from the Dungog Public School in terms of the teaching conditions.

A teacher’s life at Dusodie school

This teacher’s life at Dusodie School was typical of the life of hardship and limited personal and professional choices. Miss Elizabeth Carter, born in 1870, trained as a pupil teacher and began her life as a teacher in January 1889 at a provisional school.34 Failing to obtain classification at the 1890 exam she gained the classification of 3C Provisional, the lowest classification, in December 1891. In 1893 she requested a transfer from Girvan Provisional School: “My health has been greatly impaired of late, and a change would prove beneficial for both body and mind”, she wrote to the inspector. Unmarried, aged about 22, she was assigned to Dusodie provisional school in the Upper Williams Valley. The Inspector reported that she could lodge with Mr and Mrs Boorer, one third of a mile from the school.

Inspector’s visits were a regular event and were critical in determining a teacher’s future as they assessed a teacher’s ability through the ability of the pupils. This reflected “the need for visible and quantifiable results” which permeated the education system “as an admirably responsible attitude to the expenditure of public money.”35 Miss Carter had only been at Dusodie for 11 weeks when the inspector visited. The reasons she gave for the poor attainments of the children show the harshness of the situation she found herself in:

very heavy rains, and two floods in succession which rendered creeks and rivers uncrossable for days and even a week together. The homes are very much scattered and the greater number of the pupils have to cross the river and creeks. In fact there are only nine children in regular attendance, who reside within a radius of two miles from the school house. Consequently my pupils neither attend regularly nor punctually.

Illness was also a problem. Many pupils had ulcerated throats and severe colds while one family was absent for five weeks with diphtheria. As well, she commented that “I myself had the ulcerated throat for more than a week it cost me a great effort to drag through school duties, as I was unable to swallow and could only speak with difficulty.” In addition Miss Carter pointed out that the school had never had a creditable report “which don’t speak volumes for the material I have to work on.” The inspector countered this saying that the general efficiency of the school had been rated as fair and that Miss Carter’s work at Girvan had been unsatisfactory and she had made a poor start at Dusodie. It was decided that her next report must be satisfactory or her classification would be cancelled.

Similar difficulties were encountered with the 1895 inspection. Miss Carter explained that

my pupils have been suffering for the past two or three months from whooping cough, scarcely an individual child escaping the epidemic, consequently they had been attending very irregular and had not regained their accustomed health and vigor of mind. A week previous to examination I myself was taken seriously ill which necessitated the closing of school for a week.

The inspector confirmed this but recommended that Miss Carter be informed that “it is expected that at the next examination of the School under her charge the pupils will show marked improvement in the subjects in which the recent inspection proved them to be below standard requirements.” Again in 1897 she explained the poor showing of pupils at the inspection: “some of the failures were due to nervousness and consequent inaccuracy…They are back country children unaccustomed to school visitors and excited in the presence of strangers. A couple of them are mentally dull and slow at Arithmetic.”

Attempts to improve her teaching skills, be promoted and be relocated were thwarted. In December 1894 Miss Carter wrote to the inspector that

ambition prompts me to trouble you for a removal; not that I am dissatisfied [sic] with my present situation. But I would so much like the post of assistant teacher in a town and under a good master from whom I could acquire more efficient methods of teaching, and have more facilities for advancement.

Miss Carter’s spelling mistake was noted with underlining. Inspector Waterhouse recorded that he could not recommend this as she had not done sufficiently good work to warrant this promotion. Did the difficulty of filling small, remote teaching posts prompt the inspector to keep her at Dusodie? The archival files leave no further clues yet Miss Carter’s unsuccessful attempt to get out of the small remote provisional school in order to advance her career was a common one.

At the age of 26 Miss Carter married Mr David Boorer (a member of the family with whom she had been boarding) on 9 November 1896. She wrote to the Chief Inspector asking if lady teachers could retain their position of teacher after marriage and if they could have leave of absence for two or three days to celebrate the event, as was the case for male teachers. The answer to both these queries was yes. The following year Mrs Boorer again applied for confirmation of her Classification 3 C Married and unable to move location—(did this influence the inspector?) the classification was approved at last.

On 18 October 1897 Mrs Elizabeth Boorer gave birth to a son. She was granted three weeks paid leave that she took from the date of the birth. A relieving officer would not be sent to a provisional school but she could employ a competent person such as an ex-pupil teacher and pay the employee from her salary. In the late nineteenth century it was not unusual for married women to continue teaching even after the birth of their children and contribute to the family income.36 The Boorer family were small landholders which would not have produced sufficient income to adequately support family members so additional income was needed. Mrs Elizabeth Boorer kept working through her pregnancies.

The year 1900 must have been an extremely difficult one for Elizabeth Boorer. Initially there was a petition from parents for another teacher and in the latter part of the year parents withdrew their children from the school until the poor state of the buildings was improved. The full story of the petition is impossible to retrieve but the petition itself and the inspector’s response are on the file. In March 1900, eight parents send a petition to the local member of parliament:

the school is kept by a Mrs Boorer a married woman. We think a single Male or Female teacher should be sent. We are of opinion that a Married teacher who has her own children and household duties to attend too [sic] cannot give the proper time and attention to her school duties, often as we know not opening the school till very late and thus depriving our children of their time. We would also point out that under certain conditions a Married woman is not in a fit state to attend to her school. Unless something is done in the matter we shall be compelled to take our children away from the school. This would do the school harm and be an injustice to the children.

This type of complaint from a local community, and the specific grounds of the complaint, occurred in other schools.37 In this case, the matter was passed to the local inspector, J Kevin, who replied that

Mrs Boorer made the great mistake about three years ago of marrying into a family that is not too well liked in the locality, and hence I take this petition as directed more against the family than against the teacher. Mrs Boorer is quite aware of the delicate ground on which she stands, and is, consequently careful and guarded. She gives satisfaction in her school work, and, I believe, is never behind time with it. The petition or request smacks very strongly of dictation to the Dept. As to what kind of teachers are suitable and what not suitable under certain conditions and the tone all through is flippant and disrespectful, and gives no specific reasons for the teacher’s removal. I could not think of recomg [recommending] a female teacher for such a savage place, and if a male were sent, then a large number of girls would miss instruction in needlework.

He recommended that the petition be dismissed.

The fragments of Mrs Boorer’s life that we are able to glimpse in these archival files show a life of hard work and dedication and a thwarted ambition to become a more talented teacher and gain promotion. Her life was not unusual. Unable to gain a transfer from the small bush school she married a member of the local community and continued teaching throughout her pregnancies and when her children were very young. There was little distinction between the public world of paid work and the private world of home and family in such a small community. Difficulties with the local community could come, as the inspector suggests, through local dislike of the family into which she married.

A teacher’s life at Munni school

Miss Aurorah O’Donnell faced different problems in her life in the community of Munni.38 Although closer to Dungog than the Dusodie School, features of life in a rural school can be seen in her story. Miss O’Donnell was appointed to Munni School in January 1886 and lodged with the Kenny family for most of the next three years, excluding the time when the family was absent from the district. She then took up residence with Mrs Wilkes (with whom she has been lodging for about two years) in the village of Bendolba, about four miles away. However, she was in the habit of staying with the Kenny’s on Friday evening so that she could attend a music lesson on Friday afternoon and again on Saturday morning. It was on such an occasion that the alleged incident happened.

The saga commences with a letter from Mrs Mary Kenny to Inspector Waterhouse in April 1891, stating that “Miss O’Donnell had been behaving improperly with my husband”. The letter is forwarded to the District Inspector with the comment that the issue “is of a most serious nature”. The case is based on the reported observation of the Kenny’s 12 year old daughter. A long and protracted “trial” and “investigation” is conducted by the Education Department during which both parties deny the accusations. There is no evidence other than the child’s statement and much of this, such as the whereabouts of key individuals on certain dates, is shown to be false. Miss O’Donnell collects a large number of testimonials as to her good character and several to the bad character of the child informer. Indeed, the inspectors regard the evidence of the child as unreliable. While the inspectors counsel her to seek legal advice, she does not do this and resigns and leaves the district.

What factors put teachers such as Miss O’Donnell at risk of this sort of allegation? Accusations of sexual misconduct against both female and male teachers occur regularly in the School files and Townsend has noted several of these cases in the Nambucca Valley.39 There could be any number of reasons why accusations could be made and “in small, isolated areas, personal disputes between teachers and residents could spill over into the classroom.”40 But allegations of sexual misconduct had the potential to be particularly damaging to a teacher’s career. Women appear to have been accused of acting improperly with men in the community and this could be brought on with evidence as flimsy as where the teacher’s horse was tethered in the evening (one of the allegations in the O’Donnell case). Male teachers were accused of kissing or fondling the older female pupils.

A complication in a teacher’s life in the community was where they lived. While quarters would be provided for married male teachers (although they may be inadequate in terms of size and very poorly built), single teachers generally did not have this. While in larger towns such as Dungog there may have been a choice of lodgings, in the small hamlets with their one teacher schools the choice was circumscribed. They certainly did not lodge in the best houses. Why did teachers lodge with the people they did? There is ample evidence in the School files that the families with whom they lodged were poor and the boarding fee became an essential part of the family income. Indeed, members of the local community who requested a school in their district might not do this from a desire for the spread of education. There were financial gains associated with a school: a teacher’s salary brought real money into the area; a teacher would need accommodation and this was a small perk to be picked up by a farm near the school; a school would mean building in the first instance and maintenance in the second giving small contracts to a local carpenter; a school needed a supply of fuel (wood) which provided another small income to a local person.

Single teachers had their accommodation paid for if there was no residence. The rental was not large about £25 a year, but this was a good sum for impoverished families. However, this rental allowance would seldom be able to provide good accommodation. Miss O’Donnell has to share a bedroom with Miss Kenny, the child who makes the allegations of improper conduct and who attends the Munni School. The families with whom Miss O’Donnell lodged fit this profile: Mr. Kenny is described as a farmer but he is not a landowner; he has a young and expanding family; they do not have a servant. Mr. Wilkes is in a similar position with a young and expanding family and is described as a carpenter by trade. Thus, in addition to having the income from the teacher boarding at his home, he would be able to pick up a few tenders for school repairs. The two families were friends and it was stated that Miss O’Donnell left Mrs. Kenny on the best of terms and this was the case until the incident occurred.41


These young women teachers really were at the frontiers of “the grand nineteenth-century design of universal literacy and numeracy”.42 Despite the fact that the inspector could not “think of recomg [recommending] a female teacher for such a savage place [Dusodie]”, one was sent and kept there despite her requests to go to a larger school. The dilemma was that many teachers were needed and female teachers presented with special and additional skills. The inspector noted that “if a male were sent [to Dusodie], then a large number of girls would miss instruction in needlework.”43

The accommodation for both Miss O’Donnell and Miss Carter was cramped and these poor families were really not in a position to give suitable accommodation. Other teachers find problems with their accommodation with complaints about the quality of the food and their consequent declining health. These circumstances forced the unfortunate teacher into a lifestyle and social circle from which it was difficult to escape. While other services in “the bush” were lacking or came on an intermittent, visiting basis such as the clergy and doctor, the teacher was caught in the community, often too far from the nearest spot of civilisation to have regular communication with the town. Remote, lacking educated company, yet part of the economic well-being for all families (teachers decided whether the family income was insufficient to pay school fees) and contributor to the income of some families through the economic benefits and contracts which a school and teacher brought to a community. Promotion relied on the good performance of teacher as judged by the capabilities of their students. Yet they could be asked to achieve these standards in a locality where school attendance was poor and there was lack of encouragement for education in the homes. Indeed, they could be asked to achieve this in “a savage place”.

The lives of these teachers raise issues of geography that could be a major determinant of a teacher’s professional and personal life. Their experience was also a gendered one, with female and male teachers facing some different obstacles, only a few of which have been explored in this paper. Miss Carter decided on marriage to a local family and continued working as a married woman, bearing children, in this locality. Miss O’Donnell chose to leave the employ of the Education Department following allegations of impropriety. For teachers in these tiny, rural communities there was a lack of distinction between public and private life rarely seen except perhaps in the lives of domestic servants and this could present dangers not faced by other workers and reduce the options in their personal lives. Yet it was women such as those examined in this paper, caught in the life of a small community, who brought education to the rural areas of the Australian colonies and made compulsory education a reality.

1 This research is part of a larger study of employment in a rural community and is funded by the Australian Research Council Large Grants Scheme.
2 Marjorie Theobald, “Imagining the Woman Teacher: An International Perspective”, Australian Educational Researcher, 22, 3, 1995, pp. 102-03.
3 Marjorie Theobald, “The ‘everyday world’ of women who taught”, History of Education Review, 19, 2, 1990, p. 17.
4 ibid.
5 Noeline Kyle, Her Natural Destiny: The Education of Women in New South Wales, New South Wales University Press, Sydney, 1986, p. 134.
6 ibid, p. 136.
7 E. Clarke, Female Teachers in Queensland State Schools: A History 1860-1983, Department of Education, Brisbane, 1985, p. 7.
8 Kyle, Her Natural Destiny, p. 136.
9 John Ramsland, “The Teacher and Colonial Rural Culture: A Study of the Schoolmaster’s Involvement in the Community Life of the Richmond River District of New South Wales 1850-1910”, Australian and New Zealand History of Education Journal, 8, 1, 1979, p. 27.
10 ibid, p. 37.
11 Census; Census Collectors’ Notebooks, New South Wales, 1891.
12 J. Gateley, 125 Years of Education in Dungog 1851-1976, Typescript, Newcastle Regional Library, 1976.
13 A. Rufo, (ed.), Celebrating One Hundred Years of History of St Joseph’s School Dungog 1888-1988, np., 1988.
14 Glenda Strachan, Ellen Jordan and Hilary Carey, “Susanna and Elizabeth: The Contribution of Women to the Resources of the Hunter Region” in Cynthia Hunter (ed.), Riverchange: Six New Histories of the Hunter, Newcastle Region Public Library, Newcastle, 1998, p. 135.
15 ibid, pp. 118-120.
16 ibid, p. 138.
17 Theobald, “The ‘everyday world’ of women who taught”, p. 18; Carolyn Steedman, “Prisonhouses” in Martin Lawn and Gerald Grace (eds), Teachers: The Culture and Politics of Work, Falmer Press, London, pp. 117-129.
18 Theobald, “The ‘everyday world’ of women who taught”, p. 19.
19 ibid, p. 20.
20 Marjorie Theobald, “Women’s teaching labour, the family and the state in nineteenth-century Victoria” in Marjorie Theobald and RJW Selleck (eds) Family, School and State in Australian History, Allen and Unwin, Sydney, 1990, pp. 25-44.
21 Theobald, “The ‘everyday world’ of women who taught”, p. 20.
22 Glenda Strachan, Labour of Love: The History of the Nurses’ Association in Queensland 1860-1950, Allen and Unwin, Sydney, 1996, chapter 1.
23 Kyle, Her Natural Destiny, p. 141.
24 ibid, p. 139.
25 Norma Townsend, Valley of the Crooked River: European settlement on the Nambucca, New South Wales University Press, Sydney, 1993, pp. 106-07.
26 Kay Whitehead, “Career Paths for Provisional School Teachers in South Australia, 1875-1915”, History of Education Review, 23, 1, 1994, p. 63.
27 School files, Education Department, NSW Archives; Townsend, Valley of the Crooked River, pp. 106-07.
28 Kyle, Her Natural Destiny, pp. 141-42.
29 File 5/15774.3, Dusodie School, Education Department, NSW Archives.
30 A. Spaull and M. Sullivan, A History of the Queensland Teachers   Union, Allen & Unwin, Sydney, 1989, p. 139.
31 Townsend, Valley of the Crooked River, p. 108.
32 School files, Education Department, NSW Archives.
33 G. Karskens, “Dungog Shire Heritage Study: Thematic History”, Perumal, Wrathall and Murphy, 1986, pp. 89-98, 103-04, 179.
34 Details of the life of Miss Carter come from File 5/15774.3, Dusodie School, Education Department, NSW Archives.
35 Beverley Kingston, The Oxford History of Australia: Volume 3: 1860-1900: Glad, Confident Morning, Oxford University Press, Melbourne, 1988, p. 205.
36 Marjorie Theobald, Knowing Women: Origins of women  s education in nineteenth-century Australia, Cambridge University, Melbourne, 1996, chapter 6.
37 Theobald, “Women’s teaching labour, the family and the state”, pp. 25-44.
38 Details of the life of Miss O’Donnell come from File 5/171010.1, Munni School, Education Department, NSW Archives.
39 Townsend, Valley of the Crooked River, p. 109.
40 ibid.
41 New South Wales Parliamentary Papers (NSW P), 1886, vol. 5, pp. 227-255; File 5/15774.3, Dusodie School and File 5/171010.1, Munni School, Education Department, NSW Archives; Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages, NSW.
42 Theobald, “The ‘everyday world’ of women who taught”, p. 20.
43 File 5/15774.3, Dusodie School, Education Department, NSW Archives.