My years as a Bush Schoolie Pt6

My years as a Bush Schoolie Pt6

6 of 8, SS Natya N0. 4048 1923-25

Part 6 - Loneliness

The worst part about teaching at Natya was the loneliness - the lack of meeting people for the exchange of ideas. The loneliness for my type of people.

I had come from a quiet little family into really a kind of foreign country. They didn't speak the same language really - they had different ways of saying things, and they never talked about things that I was interested in. The topic of conversation was the wheat, the weather, a new cultivator or header, or what was going on at the dance, or who had had too much to drink. It was companionship that I missed. It was the isolation, and I think that most young teachers in those days would tell you that too.

You go from an environment that you're used to, with the great exchange of ideas that you're used to, and you're slung up there into an area where there are returned soldiers who are hard drinking, worldly wise, and badly suffering the effects of the war. They were very nice people, but so different from those that I had known previously. There was no bosom friend that I could sit down and talk to - no one you could unburden yourself to, or anyone to explain any difficulty you may have had.

When I went to the dance I might meet a school teacher, but when you're at a dance you don't talk that much.

I felt the loneliness mostly at the weekends, I really tried to adjust - goodness knows I did. I tried to see things from their viewpoint.

I played tennis and mixed in well - that takes your mind off things. I enjoyed the tennis, and sometimes played the piano for a sing-song at the house.

The best part of my years at Natya was the growing - I think I grew. I did a lot of growing up - on your own - going out with men at night - battling with things I'd never been confronted with before.

I got to understand little children better, it was all so intimate - they would tell you all about their families. I got to know the children very intimately.

It was a different Mary Rooney who came back from the country after three years. I wasn't the same teacher, not the same person who had gone away to the country. I think I was much better.