Outback Teacher is a historical insight into teaching and life on a mission during the late 1950’s and early 1960’s in remote Western Australia.
Sally finishes teacher’s college and accepts a teaching position at Forest River Mission School, also
known as Oombulgurri, run by the Church of England. The mission is 3200kms from Perth near the
WA and NT border.
It is a two teacher school with 45 Aboriginal children ranging in age from 5 to 13 years old.
Her anecdotes are told with warmth, humour and are informative.
She tells how she has dealt with the challenges of remoteness, the weather, crocodiles and snakes.
The initiative needed to teach students with little English language and how to keep the Aboriginal
children engaged – all with limited resources.
On the other side, the challenges of working and getting along with the other white staff at the
mission, some were very interesting characters!
Sally was resourceful and understood the importance of making lessons relevant to Aboriginal
culture, often teaching outdoors. She embraced the lessons the Aboriginal Community taught her. She went on walkabouts and was invited to ceremonies.
Sally’s next teaching post was Port Hedland. There was no class room available, so a disused
locomotive shed was the space given to her. She was to run a staging school, where indigenous
young people would learn English before being integrated into the main local school.
Sally wrote letters home to her mother every week. Her mother had kept every letter and her parents
were very supportive. From the letters Sally is now able to share her experiences accurately.
She now realises that at 20 she was young and naïve, with no knowledge of Government policies and community issues. At the time Sally was unaware that the children had been removed from their families by Government agencies and Church Missions. Later these children became known as “The Stolen
Through Sally’s respectful approach to her students, creativity, resourcefulness, passion for teaching
and helping others, she was able to bring about change to many lives.
Sally Gare has been an educator since 1956. She has been a school principal. She is still involved in
education as part of the Alternative to Violence Project in Western Australia and the Northern
Thank you to Beauty and Lace and Allen and Unwin for the opportunity to read this story about Sally,
a resilient and exceptional woman.
Copy courtesy of Allen & Unwin
A selection of our Beauty and Lace Club Members are reading Outback Teacher by Sally Gare with Freda Marnie. You can read their comments below, or add your own review.
I love to read, any book on any topic. I now love ebooks as they are easier to store, I was running out of bookshelves! My other interests are family, gardening and our beautiful King Charles spaniel dog who is my reading companion.