An Oral History

The area around Natya is part of the Eastern Mallee and consists of gently rolling sandhills, loam flats, with occasional outcroppings of limestone. The larger vegetation was principally Dumosa Mallee, but there was a lot of Hop Bush as well, and a few Mallee Pines.

Fox Hunting

Before we begin, a few words to calm the Greenies and the Animal Welfare Brigade - foxes are not Australian native animals - they are classed as vermin and, in fact, the Government has a hefty price on fox scalps!

Foxes were imported from England soon after the arrival of the First Fleet so the well-to-do folk could pursue their pleasures of riding to hounds ie fox hunting.

Foxes are a great concern to sheep farmers as they can do so much damage to stock and cause devasting losses.

Meeting the Train

When you are waiting for a train to arrive or a ship to berth or for a plane to land at an airport, or even a bus to come in, you have a feeling of suppressed excitement, anticipation, eagerness, and even expected pleasure, and that is how it was for us as we waited for the train at Natya Railway Station.

When we were teenagers at Natya in the early war years, "meeting the train at night" was a social occasion as we seldom had get-togethers.

My years as a Bush Schoolie Pt8

Part 8 - From Natya to North Fitzroy

When I left Natya I was sent to North Fitzroy where we had a Head Mistress and the school was an experimental one. Miss Flemming was in charge of the school, and she was a very good one. The staff was nearly all women. That's where I met the migrant children.

My years as a Bush Schoolie Pt6

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.

My years as a Bush Schoolie Pt3

Part 3 - School Life

My years as a Bush Schoolie Pt2

Part 2 - Teaching in a One Room School

The plan of that school was repeated right throughout the Mallee. Plenty of big windows on one side, and a fairly large window on the other. There was also a little room to keep your papers and books in. There was a large open fireplace on the west side, with new blackboards on either side. But it didn't take long for the blackboards to start to buckle, with the terrific heat we had.

There was one rainwater tank and a filter to filter the water for the children to drink.

My years as a Bush Schoolie Pt1

Part 1 - Becoming a Country Teacher

I was born in 1901 in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and I emigrated to Australia in 1911 with my mother, brother and sister. My father had preceded us some time before, and we settled in Melbourne.