P&C Queensland minutes reveal biggest issues for state schools in 1947

Minutes taken from the first P&C Queensland meeting. Photo: Supplied

Minutes taken from the first P&C Queensland meeting. Photo: Supplied

The original attendance book of the Queensland Council of State School Organisations. Photo: Supplied

The original attendance book of the Queensland Council of State School Organisations. Photo: Supplied

Horror films and septic toilets were among a range of topics discussed at the first state-wide Parents & Citizens assembly in 1947, according to the meeting's minutes.

P&C Queensland, originally named Queensland Council of State School Organisations, was formed to "command recognition" from the state government, according to the minutes from the meeting at Empire Chambers on Wharf Street on Wednesday, November 12, 1947.

President F.A. Larkin told the committee the formation of a state body was "long overdue".

"In the past, each body had gone its own way and consequently had received very little encouragement from the government in its efforts to better conditions for the school children of Queensland," he said.

At the meeting, Mr Larkin suggested backing up the Queensland Teachers Union's calls for better conditions as it would mean "better attention to the education of the children".

He also noted there was "room for improvement" of the conditions in Brisbane schools that were "impregnated with dust and filth" and in rural schools where the lack of sanitation and water was "appalling".

"Children in many schools are forced to sit in rooms seriously overcrowded, badly lighted - whilst they are forced to eat their lunches midst dirt and flies," he said.

"The one-teacher school (in rural communities) also has a grave detrimental effect on the learning capacity of the children."

Present-day P&C Queensland president Kevin Goodworth said the meeting also covered off on religious instruction and the need to provide "undenominational religious education".

"Sometimes the more things change the more they stay the same, some things have changed quite dramatically," he said.

"There were at that time too many ministers of religion in schools and there needed to be some better streamlining of the process."

Mr Goodworth said he was surprised to find censorship of horror films was mentioned as an issue for parents at the time.

"A really strange one that I wasn't aware of, apparently after the Second World War, Americans produced a lot of horror movies. It was a new trend apparently," he said.

"There was some strong discussion in P&Cs about children not being allowed to go and see these horror movies, that kids were getting stressed and upset by I suppose the graphic nature of these horror films."

Other issues ranged from safety to providing better resources for children in more remote areas.

"There was a great number of requests for travelling theatre groups to come and provide drama for children in the rural education area," he said.

"There was also a suggestion that they demand telephones be installed in schools for safety reasons.

"Another one that I have read featuring in materials now for almost 50 years is trying to get teachers into the bush, trying to provide accommodation for them in people's houses.

"Many young, particularly female, teachers who went into rural areas in those days lived on the verandah of the farmhouse."

Mr Goodworth said P&C Queensland managed to push for safe road crossings around schools in the 1970s, which resulted in the emergence lollipop ladies and men.

"I think the safety of our children in schools, whether it be around buses, road safety crosses, the abuse or otherwise of children is the big issue that has remained constant," he said.

P&C Queensland will hold its annual conference in Brisbane next week.

The story P&C Queensland minutes reveal biggest issues for state schools in 1947 first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.

Smartphone
Tablet - Narrow
Tablet - Wide
Desktop