Chronicle (Adelaide, SA : 1895 - 1954), Saturday 30 June 1906, page 52


(By Ethel A. Bates.)

The Kangaroo Islander labors under great educational disadvantages. Here, unfortunately, we have no high schools, and parents desirous of educating their children above the average are compelled to send to a city school or college. We are retarded by the fact that we are provided with provisional teachers only, a Kangaroo Island school generally being their first. However, we have had some good teachers, among, them and foremost is my dear old teacher. He was, strict and methodical and generally disliked by his scholars, but now, as time passes on, we feel (or, at least, I feel) that we owe much to him. School days are always a period of life which we delight to recall and to live over again in imagination. In reviewing our many escapades we wonder we did not feel more pleasure when enacting them. I myself, uneventful as was my life, recall many amusing incidents.

Foremost amongst these is the time when a party was selected to wreak dire vengeance on our teacher. Our plan of attack was to possess the keys, lock the windows, make a rush for the door, bolt it, and keep the object of our conspiracy in the schoolroom without anything to eat until the following morning, when we pictured him, in our imagination, coming forth quite crestfallen and subdued, crying to us for mercy, and even then we imagined ourselves quite unrelenting. However, this tragedy never came to pass, although little did our teacher know what dreadful plot was being planned against him.

An other amusing and rather disconcerting episode happened one day, which I shall never forget. Our schoolhouse and grounds were situated quite close to the sea. When being drilled we were compelled to advance to within a short distance of the rocks. Marching next to me was a boy whom I particularly disliked, and as the teacher cried "Quick march!" the whole line moved with heads erect. I looked neither to one side or to the other, but marched on for perhaps two or three chains, when I was startled by a call from the teacher, evidently some distance behind.

I looked around, startled, and found to my dismay that he had long since called "Halt!" but neither myself nor the boy I disliked had heard him, the outcome being that we had marched some distance by ourselves.

There was nothing left to do but walk sheepishly back to our places, amid the grins and nudges of our school-fellows, whilst to add to my almost unbearable discomfiture the teacher remarked between bursts of laughter, "Why, Ethel and Jack, whatever was the matter; were you both going for a swim?" I was sensitive and modest in the extreme, and the idea of the teacher thinking I was going for a swim with Jack filled me with dismay and suffused my face with blushes. Even to this day my friends delight to make unfeeling reference to a matter about which I am still very sensitive.