Free Secular Compulsory Conference 2022 Speakers and Abstracts

Speaker's full nameSpeakers' profilesTitle of paperAbstractsAppearing on day?
Marilyn BowlerA former editor of the Victorian Historical Journal, Marilyn Bowler was a schoolteacher in her working life and more recently a university teacher of copy editing. She completed an MA in History at La Trobe University on the importance of teachers’ studentships for the entry of both women and country students into higher education and the teaching profession. Her thesis became an article, ‘Opening Doors. The Effects of Teaching Studentships and Teaching on Women’s Lives in Victoria, 1950–2000’, published in the Victorian Historical Journal in June 2019. Teacher studentship schemes from the 1950sSunday
Emeritus Professor Richard Broome AM FAHA FRHSVPresident, Royal Historical Society of VictoriaOpening and closing remarksSaturday & Sunday
Dr Wendy DickWendy has had a long career in education. She has taught across Prep to Year 12 in the State and Catholic systems and in London. Various later roles have included: college administration and leadershi; Chair of a girls’ college Council; national educational research. Her doctoral dissertation, “Ellen Mulcahy: a study of her work and life” was awarded the Australian Industrial Relations Commission Centennial prize in 2012.Case study: early experiences of a woman teacher employed in State Schools 1873-1905
Ellen Mulcahy (1859 – 1920) was the eldest child in a post-Famine emigrant family from Co Cork, Ireland, who settled in Kilmore, a strongly Celtic community. There, her father conducted his boot-making business at the main street location that was both home and his shop. The aspirational parents encouraged their growing family to make the most of their opportunities. But Ellen faced serious challenges as she sought employment in teaching at this time when State Schools in the Colony of Victoria were legislated. Extensive records from the original History Unit, now available at the PROV, allow the scholar to delve into the experiences of one of those earliest State School teachers. Saturday
Dr Helen DoyleHelen Doyle is an Associate of GML Heritage. She is an historian with over twenty years’ experience in heritage and conservation, an alternate member of the Heritage Council, Victoria and a board member of the History Council of Victoria. She has published widely in local history, and collaborated with other notable historians. Her book Suburbs at War: The Cities of Malvern and Prahran during the Great War won the Victorian Community History Award’s Centenary of World War I Award, while her centenary history of St Brigid’s, Crossley, and its Irish Australian Community was commended in the 2014 VCH Awards. The impact of the act on the Irish Catholic community in Victoria and the efforts made to retain local schools for Catholic children. Sunday
Dr Rosemary FrancisRosemary Francis is a product of the Victorian state education system, as both a student and secondary school teacher/ teacher-librarian. After a twenty year career, with time out to rear children, in 1996 she returned to post graduate study to complete a PhD in history at the University of Melbourne in 2000. The thesis was entitled ‘Of Secondary Concern? Women in the Victorian Secondary Teachers Association 1953-1995.’ Since then as a member of the Professional Historians Association, she has worked on a range of labour and feminist history projects. The Victorian Secondary Teachers Association 1953-1995 In 1953, the Victorian Secondary Teachers Association, was formed to represent the interests of high school teachers in the Victorian Education Department. Initially, a small male-dominated union, with aspirations to an elite professional status, it evolved into a broadly based secondary teachers organization, prepared to support a feminist agenda. It took strike action in 1965 and advocated strongly for improved teaching qualifications and conditions, and curriculum reform. By the 1980s its agenda included the issues of family leave, child care, permanent part-time work, and the gender inclusive curriculum. By 1995, it had a female president with half the Council female.Saturday
Dr Alan Gregory AMHistorian and Educational Consultant, Alan Gregory AM was a teacher in Victorian high schools, then on the staff of the Faculty of Education Monash University for 25 years, He was made a Member of the Order of Australia 1989 for services to education and the community, was Master of Ormond College, and served on government boards including the Migration Review Tribunal and Refugee Review Tribunal. His books include histories of Lord Somers Camp and Power House, of the Royal Melbourne Hospital, and of Melbourne High School, and books on two its principals: Brigadier George Langley, and William (Bill) M Woodfull.Effects of the 1890s depression and the reforms it createdThe boom and prosperity of the 1880s in Australia was followed in the 1890s by a major depression. Government austerity measures imposed on Victorian state education were severe. Impacts included cuts to teacher training, numbers and salaries, scholarships, capital expenditure and maintenance and repair. Curriculum was narrowed. This paper looks at reforms and innovations championed by Theodore Fink and Frank Tate to restore life to the 1872 Education Act. Saturday
Dr Cheryl Griffin FRHSVCheryl Griffin attended La Trobe University where she majored in history and English. She later completed a Master of Education and a PhD in the field of the history of education. She has wide-reaching historical interests and since her retirement from secondary school teaching, has volunteered with a number of historical societies. She has written articles and presented papers on a wide variety of historical topics, contributed to a number of books and in 2017 wrote The Old Boys of Coburg State School Go to War for Coburg Historical Society.Making a difference: Victorian teachers as social activists in the first half of the twentieth centuryThis paper covers a volatile period in which two world wars, a global depression and the Cold War transformed the social fabric of Australia. For many teachers, this meant action beyond the classroom. These teacher activists were involved in public roles that led them to take up causes that were key to the concerns of the day. This paper considers some of those roles and looks at how teachers addressed social, industrial and political issues that impacted not only on their working lives, but on the future lives of their pupils.Saturday
Dr David HarrisBetween 1978 and 2008, David Harris taught at several Victorian Government secondary schools including Derrinallum HS, Corio TS and Scoresby SC. He completed an MA at Melbourne University in 1984 that led to publications on the early history of public housing in Victoria. Since completing a PhD in environmental history at La Trobe University in 2014 he has published on aspects of Victoria’s colonial fishery and the Gippsland Lakes in the nineteenth century. More recently he contributed to a textbook for a section of the new VCE Australian History course. He is currently an adjunct in the Centre for the Study of the Inland at La Trobe University. Livingston: A one-teacher school in the Gippsland hills, 1913-1938Historical geographer Stephen Legg devoted one sentence to the history of the Livingston settlement, describing it as a story of ‘decline and abandonment’. It was an accurate – if brutal – observation that could have also described other Closer Settlement or soldier settler communities. However, in the Livingston community and the local one-teacher school, there were also occasions where hope triumphed in the face of hopelessness. In this paper I reflect on the legacy of schools such as Livingston, the educational thinking that created them and their wider relevance to the history of State Education.Saturday
Ian HindBorn in Melbourne, Ian was educated at Sydney Boys High School and Sydney University graduating with Bachelor of Economics and Master of Science in Agriculture. He held academic appointments at Charles Sturt University and University of Western Australia prior to joining the Victorian Department of Education in 1980 where he held executive positions in policy and planning. From the early 2000s until his retirement in 2016 Ian worked in international development in Asia and the Pacific. Ian lives in East Melbourne and has a keen interest in local and Australian colonial history. Yarra Park State School: the first 25 yearsYarra Park State School was one of the first group of large urban schools constructed in Melbourne after the passing of the 1872 Education Act. It was designed by the prominent colonial architect Charles Webb. The building has been placed on the Victorian and Australian Historical registers on account of its historical and architectural significance. The school was closed due to rapidly declining enrolments in 1987. The school boasts some prominent alumni. The paper examines how the key features of the 1872 Act - secular, compulsory and free - were manifest in the life of the school during its first 25 years. Saturday
Jillian HiscockCollections Manager, Royal Historical Society of VictoriaPublished school histories in the RHSV Collection: a brief overview
Dr Carole HooperCarole Hooper worked for the Victorian Education Department for several decades, and for some years was a research officer at the Education History Unit. More recently, she was a research fellow with the Centre for the Study of Higher Education at the University of Melbourne. Her research interests include the history of education in nineteenth century Victoria. The limitations of the free curriculum – and the consequences for the provision of higher education in VictoriaThe ‘free’ subjects specified in the Victorian 1872 Education Act, were restricted to those offered at the primary level of schooling. More advanced subjects could be taught, but only if fees were charged and tuition took place outside the regular hours of instruction. Previously, the various educational boards had facilitated the teaching of higher subjects in government-aided schools, but regulations introduced by the Board of Education in 1870 (and replicated in the 1872 Act), marked a distinct change in policy. The limitations placed on the curriculum had serious consequences for educational provision in Victoria, and it was not until the early twentieth century that government secondary schools were finally established.Sunday
Professor Adrian Jones OAMAdrian Jones joined the history program at La Trobe University in 1985, teaching Russian, Ottoman and European histories. He is interested in every aspect of history education, primary to tertiary, in 2008, Adrian's work in this field of public education was recognised by the award of an Order of Australia Medal (OAM). The award cited his 'service to history education as a lecturer and author, and for executive roles in a range of historical and teaching organisations'. He has led many overseas study tours but, closer to home, published a history of Essendon Primary School 1850–2000. Comparative perspective: visions of education in other societies around 1872Saturday
Kara KrushkeProject Manager, 150 years of public education in Victoria, Dept of Education & TrainingPreserving records for the futureSunday
Dr Andrew Lemon AM, FRHSVA former president of the RHSV, Andrew Lemon is a professional historian with many books and a historical novel to his credit. He began his career as an archivist at the Public Record Office, Victoria working with Education Department records. His books include histories of Wesley College, Melbourne and Geelong Grammar’s preparatory school in Toorak, as well as a biography of renowned headmaster and gardener, T.R.Garnett The names: a quick explanation of historical
background of Denominational / National / Common Schools
This talk briefly explains the significance of the names that have been attached to various sorts of schools throughout the history of Victoria. Saturday
Emerita Professor Lorraine LingLorraine Ling is an Emerita Professor at La Trobe University. Lorraine began her career as a school teacher and taught in primary, high and technical schools in both metropolitan and regional Victoria. She began her career in tertiary teaching in 1983 and undertook a range of positions including Executive Dean of the Faculty of Education at La Trobe University, Dean of Education and Associate Pro-Vice Chancellor Academic and Strategic Transformation at Victoria University. She has authored and co-authored several books and a large number of journal articles. School reading materials: A window into societySchool reading materials provide a window into the social values, moral imperatives and attitudes of any given era. Before the 1872 Education Act in Victoria the Irish Readers and their successor the Royal Readers were widely used but the Irish Readers were never fully accepted owing to disputes between Protestants and Catholics over the religious content. Following the 1872 Education Act the Education Department of Victoria was responsible for prescribing the reading curriculum in government schools resulting in the inclusion of more Australian content but still focused on moral imperatives, attitudes and the specific national values deemed appropriate for the times.Sunday
Dr Beth MarsdenBeth is a settler historian living and working on unceded Wurundjeri land. Currently, she is Research Fellow in History on the ARC-funded project 'Ngura Ninti: an Indigenous History of Documents 1788-2000' and is a Research Fellow at Melbourne Graduate School of Education working on the ARC-funded project 'Progressive Education and Race.' Beth specialises in the fields of Aboriginal education, Australian history, and critical archival studies. Her PhD 'Histories of Aboriginal Education and Schooling in Victoria 1904-1968' was the first examination of Aboriginal peoples' engagement with settler education, policy and practice situated within broader cultures of resistance.‘Not so compulsory’: the schooling of Aboriginal children under the 1872 Act.The compulsory clause in the Education Act 1872 worked in two ways: it compelled children to attend school, and it also compelled the Education Department to provide schools. Aboriginal children were omitted from the compulsory clause in two ways: they were denied enrolment in schools and the Education Department also refused to provide schools to Aboriginal communities because of race. I draw on Department records and private letters to illustrate through three Victorian case studies to illustrate some of the ways the 1872 Act did not provide free, secular and compulsory schooling to Aboriginal families.Saturday
Dr Michele MatthewsMichele has been an avid Social Historian for four decades. Her work at the Bendigo Regional Archives Centre (BRAC) enabled the promotion and preservation of Bendigo and district records she had first encountered in 1983, while researching her Honours thesis. Her 2007 PhD examined the impact of the Great Depression on Bendigo and district. Michele has published journal articles, reviews, an ADB entry, and the 2016 centenary history of the Bendigo School of Domestic Arts. She has spoken at SLV, VAFHO, Centenary of Federation conferences, and numerous other public speaking occasions.Bendigo School of Domestic Arts: the nomadic
experience, 1916 to today
The saga of the former Bendigo School of Domestic Arts is most unique. It was the first School of Domestic Arts established outside Melbourne, and the first in Victoria to enrol its students to study both their academic and domestic arts subjects within the one school. It had seven name changes in its first 100 years of existence- and three different geographic homes! In 1974, this school undertook a massive ideological shift from only providing education for teenage girls, to becoming co-educational.Sunday
Alex McDermottAlex McDermott is a research scholar at La Trobe University, author of Australian History for Dummies and of annotated editions of Ned Kelly’s ‘Jerilderie Letter’. He has worked as a
historian, producer and consultant on projects in television, academic research and mainstream publishing and provided historical expertise to many organisations.
The aftermath of the Education Act: its immediate impact on political thinking in Victoria.Sunday
Dr Geraldine MooreGeraldine Moore is the author of the 2018 book, George Higinbotham and Eureka: The Struggle for Democracy in Colonial Victoria. Higinbotham was a highly influential journalist, politician and ultimately Chief Justice in colonial Victoria. One of his contemporaries described him as a man of ‘dash and daring’ who ‘won from privilege and class ground that they have never since been able to recover.’ as Attorney General of Victoria, his daring leadership of the Legislative Assembly’s struggle against the Legislative Council led to constitutional crises in 1865 and 1867. The Education Act followed soon after. The Politics of the 1872 Education ActThe Education Act of 1872 arose from the failure of the Common Schools system to satisfy both the intention of the Government to see progress towards a common system, and the diverse aspirations of the major religious denominations. Over the decade 1862–1872, Anglicans and Catholics, chafed at the Board’s policy of withdrawing funding from non-compliant schools and transferring it to compliant schools. In 1871, the Supreme Court found the Board lacked the power to do this. This decision deprived the Board of the means of enforcing its regulations. Without new legislation, a race between the denominations to appropriate aid to their schools was inevitable.Saturday
Margaret PagoneA retired teacher, Margaret taught History and English in all sectors of Victorian secondary education and is continuing a life-long passion in historical investigation. She has contributed to HTAV and other conferences and school history texts, on post-war migration and multiculturalism. Margaret is a long-term member of the RHSV, several local historical societies and has served on the HTAV Board. She has been a member of VCAA history review panels and an examiner. She is proud of having been able to encourage students to be excited by history. Catholic reaction to the Education Act 1872: An inner-suburban case study
The 1872 Act evolved from, and gave rise to, much debate – not least of which occurred with great feeling in the increasingly large, mostly Irish, Catholic population. This paper will examine a letter from one priest in St.Kilda to his home town in Ireland, embedding a heartfelt plea for assistance to counter, what, to some, seemed like an assault by heathen hordes. In the context of the times, these were very real fears. How could a solid education for all be achieved if it became free, compulsory and secular?Saturday
Dr John PardyTechnical Education: a secular ideal for post-primary teachingSunday
Meredith PeaceVictorian Branch President of the Australian Education Union.Saturday
Dr Liz Rushen OAMDr Elizabeth Rushen AM is an historian, lecturer, researcher and author committed to community engagement in history and heritage. Liz is a Director of Melbourne Maritime Heritage Network, an Adjunct Research Associate in the Faculty of Arts, Monash University, and on the Editorial Board of the Australian Dictionary of Biography. She is a former Executive Director of the Royal Historical Society of Victoria and a former Chair of the History Council of Victoria. Educating girls in colonial MelbourneLong before the 1872 Education Act, what educational opportunities were offered to girls in colonial Melbourne? Saturday
Dr Geoff SandyGeoffrey A. Sandy holds a doctorate in Computer Science from RMIT University and M.Com., Dip. Ed. From the University of Melbourne and a Certificate of Theology from Moore College, Sydney. He has taught history at secondary school and university levels. He has published in three volumes A History of St Margaret’s Church, Eltham and has contributed to the Victorian Historical Journal: ‘Conscientious Objectors: the Vietnam Years’. The Church of England Denominational School at Little Eltham The Church of England Denominational School at Little Eltham is an example of a denominational school under the pre-1872 Education Act that tried to hang on but whose existence ended early in 1873. Saturday
Professor Richard TeeseRichard Teese is professor emeritus in the University of Melbourne and adjunct professor of education in Victoria University. His Academic Success and Social Power (2013) is a history of upper secondary English, mathematics, chemistry and languages, written to explain persistent inequality. His For the Common Weal (2014) studies the evolution of public secondary education in Victoria over the century since the 1910 Education Act.Growth of State secondary educationThe 1872 Education Act enabled Victorian families to capitalise on the long-term demographic trend to having fewer, but better educated children and to better their material well-being. The Act created a platform of universal elementary schooling on which secondary education was to grow rapidly in the post-World War II decades. There was a tenfold increase in the proportion of young people reaching the final year of school. Over the same period, however, the democratic vision of the 1872 Act has been checked by social and political forces, including the rising demand for selective schooling.Sunday
Dr Deborah Towns OAMHistorian and sociologist, Deborah Towns, is proud about sharing the Victorian Community History Award with co-author Dr John Andrews for ‘A Secondary Education for All’? A History of State Secondary Schooling in Victoria. Her portfolio career includes, Honorary Fellow, University of Melbourne, teaching in schools and universities, Executive Director of the Australian Agribusiness Education Foundation, managing the Australian Government’s Quality Teacher Programme, the Education Department’s pioneering manager of the Equal Opportunity Unit, directing Women in Parliament (1988), joint production of 100 Years of the Women’s Vote (2003), organising celebrations for the centenary of state secondary schooling with the Victorian History Council, and publishing biographies of 20 women teachers from Catholic, government and independent schools (Encyclopedia of Women & Leadership in Twentieth Century Australia). Celebrating the 150th with Three Rs: Responsibility, Realisation, ReflectionThe 1872 Act was implemented 1 January 1873. Until the early 1980s the Education Department, developed by first director Frank Tate, changed very little in administration. ‘In force’ today is the 2022 Education and Training Act of over 800 pages. The pioneering 1872 Act of only a few pages was revolutionary.
How the system delivered its responsibilities for the first century is described impressively in Vision and Realisation. Edited by Les Blake, a former school inspector, president and a Fellow of the RHSV, it was of its era. By selectively reviewing its findings I show how students, teachers, parents and the Victorian community participated and benefitted. For the next fifty years the realisation of its responsibilities is examined from my research and lively experiences as a student, a teacher and Departmental administrator.
Dr Deborah Towns OAMWomen's Community Leadership: Mothers' Clubs in the 20th CenturyThis paper explores fund raising, and the educational, and activist work of the Victorian Federation of Mothers’ Clubs, later the Victorian Federation of State Schools Mothers’ Clubs (VFSSMC). In delegations to the Minister they called for sex education, equal pay, better dental funding, smaller classes, maintenance, and locally they provided school lunches, clothing and classroom equipment. As Parents Victoria (PV) today, gendered parents’ work continues, and women lead. Recently a PV member, was the national president of the Australian Association of State School Organisations, the leadership role held by Joan Kirner in the 1970s, when she was president of the VFSSMC.Sunday
Dr Rosalie Triolo FRHSVRosalie has lectured in History education and history of education at Monash University, presents regularly in state and national contexts, has published scholarly as well as school and tertiary education resources, and has won awards for publications, presentations and service. She is RHSV Vice-President and Convenor of the History Victoria Support Group, a Life member and past president of the History Teachers’ Association of Victoria, a regular contributor to the life of numerous state and national education and historical bodies, and Victoria’s representative to the Australian National Museum of Education.State schooling and seven civic and citizenship ideals in Victoria, 1872– 1910Between 1872 and 1910, seven secular civic and citizenship ideals at play in the State of Victoria influenced the development of its new education system. The ideals, to varying degrees, informed educational policies, initiatives, courses and publications, directed the work of State school teachers, and defined the knowledge, skills, dispositions and behaviours to be developed by Victoria's State school children. This paper reflects on the origins, evolution and interrelationships of the ideals, as well as their interrelationships with social, political, economic, technological and environmental factors at Victorian, national and imperial levels. Sunday
Professor Georgina TsolidisGeorgina Tsolidis worked as an ESL teacher in Victorian secondary schools before becoming a language consultant with Child Migrant Education Services in the early 1980s. She later worked on policy and research for the Ministerial Advisory Committee on Migrant and Multicultural Education and the Ministry of Education. Subsequently she took up positions at Monash and Federation Universities in teacher education. Her research interests are in education policy, particularly that related to gender and multiculturalism. She is an Adjunct Professor with the Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and GlobalisationFrom Migrant English to Multicultural Education: Changing the Deficit ModelSaturday

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