On Country Schools & Pet Shows

Last week I spent hours trawling through boxes of old slides in order to put together a photo board for my father’s 80th birthday. In the process, I was excited to discover a stack of nostalgic shots that had never seen the light of day, including this picture below that I just had to share.

Hynam School Pet Show, circa 1968

Hynam School Pet Show, circa 1968

Frozen in time, it perfectly captures life in the late 1960s in a small country school in South Australia. What makes it all the more precious is that formal class photos were scarce; in fact I have few shots of the era at all so you can imagine my delight when I stumbled upon a slide of the whole school, grades 1 through to 7.

This photo is of the school Pet Show, an anticipated event that saw this bunch of farm kids bundle up their favourite pets and bring them to school to show and parade, resulting in an intriguing menagerie of dogs, cats, rabbits, birds and lambs…I vaguely even recollect a calf! I can’t help but ponder just how different my early school days were from my daughters’, who, a generation on at the same age, attended school in the centre of Paris.

I’m the scrawny little kid in the front right of the photo holding the lead on one of the numerous pet lambs we bottle-fed during my childhood. My elder brother is in the centre of the photo with his dog Lassie (no comments on the imaginative name please!) who won the Pet Show. A much loved dog, Lassie was the only sandy-coloured border collie I remember on the farm in a long line of black-and-white sheepdogs, and the only photo I have ever seen of her.

Now I just have to try and work out who everyone is!

Hynam School Grades 1, 2 and 3 001

  • janepaech
    October 29, 2013

    I received the email below from my lovely former teacher at Hynam Primary, Anne Nolan, who married a local and still lives at Hynam. Hynam was her first teaching posting. She also sent me a rare class photo (grades 1, 2 & 3) which I have posted above. I’m seated front left…

    Hello dear Jane,
    Loved your blog and the pet show photo is gorgeous with a lovely description by you. We did used to have school photos every two years. It’s a long time between class photos if you miss a year! I thought you’d love this one. You weren’t scrawny, just slim! You were quite gorgeous actually. The little class here in the photo looks like a dream run, and it was.

    We had no electricity at the school for the whole 3 years I was there, no one believes that these days! No cups of tea at recess unless I bought a thermos, which I didn’t ever do! And photocopiers hadn’t been invented. We had something called a gestetner which was hand operated and spat purple ink
    all over me. Oh, and when it was too dark in winter to see to write, we just had to do oral work.

    Anyway, they were wonderful years for a girl who’d always lived in the city.

    Thankfully I’m a country girl now!

    Can’t wait for your next book.

    Love Anne.

  • Jim Smith
    August 11, 2014

    Lol – that’s me top left in the 1967 pic, and also in the pet pic holding the sheep dog puppy just behind and to the right of you. Still remember the little bottles of milk at recess time – warm in summer!

    Jim Smith (then Jamie)

    • janepaech
      August 12, 2014

      Yes, I think school milk put a lot of us off milk for life! I spotted you right away…Still trying to work out some of the others. They were happy days!

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