OUTBACK EDUCATION IN THE ‘NOT TOO DISTANT’ PAST Warburton Ranges (WA) in 1974-75 (16)

When we left Warburton after our year in 1970, I assumed that was the end of association with the community. Within reason, the WA Department of Education tried to accomodate those teaching for a year at Warburton with a school of their choice. I was keen to take on the challenges of a one teacher school, in part because of their uniqueness and because my training has encompassed preparation for teaching in these situations.

So it was that the years 1971 to 1973 inclusive were spent at Gillingarra, a one teacher school some 40 kilometres south of Moora. It was during these years we had our children. It is not my intention to write of educational experiences in a way that goes beyond and into our private lives as a family, but to confine writing to matters that relate primarily to education and associated living experiences.

Gillingarra, a one teacher school, had an average of between 19 and 22 students during my three years. I may well write about this school and my experiences during these three years at some future time.

Toward the end of our three years at Gillingarra, I began to think about my professional future and where it might be appropriate to look at beyond our three years (enjoyable teaching years) in this small community. For some reason, the idea of a return to Warburton had some appeal. When it came time to apply for a transfer (with an eye on transferring to a promotional position) I applied for the position of Headmaster at Warburton Ranges. My wife would be a teacher at the school and we would have our children with us, should I be successful.

I was appointed to the position and we began thinking about our return with effect from the beginning of the 1974 school year. Toward the end of 1973, I had the opportunity to visit Warburton for a day, travelling on a charter flight that was going up and back on the same day. That would mean a very early start and a very late return on the chosen day.

So it was that on December 18 1973, I returned for a flying visit to Warburton. This was during the last week of the school year at Warburton and I had been given dispensation by the Department to make the trip. That was the prelude to our 1974 return and our second appointment to the community.

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