Interviewee: Mr Maurice Raymond Anderson
Date of Birth: 20 November 1923
Interviewer: Lorna Anderson
Date of Interview: 6 April 1997
Date of Death: 28 December 2008
Verbatim Transcript: Marylin Jones
BOHG No: 1997.016
Total Length: 3 hours 5 minutes
Maurie was born in Adelaide, although his siblings, a brother and a sister, were born in different places, as his father was employed by Amalgamated Wireless of Australia requiring him to take up duties anywhere in the Commonwealth.
Maurie first attended school in Darwin, then to North Perth and South Perth Primary Schools. He attended Perth Boys High School, remembering a couple of his teachers there. He later went to Geraldton District High School where he took his Junior Certifcate. He stayed an extra year in Geraldton as School Captain and took his Leaving Certificate as he would then be old enough to enter University. War had been declared and his father was transferred to Broome, Maurie staying with friends, Mr & Mrs Crane, in Geraldton. The family also had a farm and Maurie worked there in the holidays.
Maurie was prominent in sport, mainly swimming,football and athletics.
In 1941 Maurie enrolled in the Faculty of Arts at the University of WA, and lived with his grandmother. He only stayed for one year, then registered for the Militia and enlisted for the RAAF. His sight ruled him out for aircrew but he settled for the telegraphy, mustering and ground-crew. Waiting for call-up, he joined the Education Department and was appointed as a Monitor at North Perth Primary School.
By coincidence his call-up to training in Ballarat was on the same day, 3rd March 1942, when Darwin was bombed. Relieved to hear his father was safe, he caught the train to Ballarat and later was posted to Boulder.
Maurie was in the Airforce for about three and a half years, having been trained in morse code and operate the air radio. He was transferred to Broome in 1943, and in 1944 to Geraldton. He was finally discharged on 25 September 1945.
By arrangement with the Commonwealth Reconstruction Training Scheme, he was enrolled to Claremont Teachers College and during that three years he completed Teacher Training and also a University Degree.
In 1948 he was engaged to Lorna Bennett, whom he’d known for years. Maurie was appointed to a one-teacher school called Marling on the property of the Lavender Brothers, about seven miles east of Quindanning, on the south bank of the Williams River. The appointment arrived late in 1948 so Maurie and Lorna were married on the 22nd January and set out for their new life after the war.
The school was a converted old homestead made from mud brick with a shingle roof, which was then iron. The living quarters were at one end, no water except a tank, no bath until they bought their own, and a ‘thunderbox’ toilet for which Maurie was the ‘nightman’.
There were ten students at the school, one aboriginal being 14 years of age. The farmers were very friendly and often invited them to evening meals or to play chess. Maurie was introduced to golf at a mini-course. Other activities included rabbit shooting or trapping.
For various reasons the student numbers decreased and the school was closed and Maurie was appointed to Menzies in the goldfields.
Their first child, Cliff, was born in January 1951, Lorna having been booked into King Edward Memorial Hospital.
There were twenty-five students in Grades 1 to 7 in the school but as one student stayed on by Correspondence, Maurie supervised him too. They made many friends there including Italian families. Many lads had been sent up by the immigration scheme at the time to work on the railway gang.
In 1954 due to promotion , Maurie was appointed to Bencubbin, a three- teacher school. While there, their two daughters were born.
Maurie continued studies, at first a Diploma of Education, a Bachelor of Education while he was at Dwellingup, despite the illumination in the house being only by Aladdin lamps.
Maurie achieved well though the Inspectorial system of those days and won the advertised position to the Brookton District High School. There was a town swimming pool which was wonderful for the children, their daughter Terri included.
The secondary area of the school was based on subject teaching, so Maurie taught some Maths and English and other lessons were divided among the other staff.
Long Service Leave was due to be taken, so an arrangement was made with Lorna’s sister and brother-in-law, also a teacher, that the latter would take their Leave in 1962, and Maurie & Lorna in 1964, and each to look after each other’s children while the parents’ went travelling. In 1962 Maurie was at Pemberton School. Transferred to Beverley, they took their Leave when there including a cruise to Singapore. They also got involved in swimming with Maurie coaching, and Terri achieved a championship record in butterfly stroke. A lot of golf was also played.
In 1965 Maurie applied for vacancies in three-year high schools. Recommendations and appeals were part of the long process but Maurie was finally appointed to South Bunbury High School, by then renamed as Newton Moore High School. It was a rapid promotion over the years but this came in time for the educational opportunity of his children too.
It was a challenge to start a new school, still at that time under construction.
Decisions had to be made so meetings were set up to decide on such things as uniforms for students and a formation of a P&C association. Bunbury High School was already overflowing and four demountables were set up at South Bunbury Primary School site for students who would be the Second year intake at Newton Moore. Maurie visited the incomplete school and also the house in Champion Street. He also met Len Glen who was to be caretaker of the new school. The routine administration had to be established, timetables for lessons, and the allocation of staff, mainly by subject specialisation. There was a canteen to be set up and Manageress appointed. A crest had to be developed for letterheads and school blazers. Maurie Williams, Member of the Legislative Assembly, Newton Roberts, godson of Sir Newton Moore, and Paul Rigby helped. The selection of the name Newton Moore was made by the Director General of Education, knowing him to have had a great influence in Western Australia and Bunbury.
A Prefect system was established with election of students. Badges were made. They were very active and initiated things such as a school flag and school bible. They organised the school Anzac Service. It was decided to lay a school capsule, in which early records were placed and a date of 50 years set for the opening of the capsule.
The school joined the South West High Schools Sports association and both swimming and sports carnivals were held. Junior Country Week was established in Bunbury. Other special activities included the ISCF, fellowship of the International Scripture Union, a Chess Club, an excursion to ‘Oliver’ at His Majesty’s Theatre, and school socials arranged by the prefects.
The P&C was strong and a School Council was later formed. The Canteen Manager recruited volunteers and profit from the canteen was allocated by the P&C for special school items or projects.
The students at the annexe produced the first school magazine, and from then on an annual magazine, called the ‘Knight’ was produced. Several businesses financed publication.
The Official Opening of the school in October was an important event.
From the small beginning of Newton Moore High School, Maurie guided it through to a Senior High School, with various stages in the number of students, teachers and other staff, buildings and range of activities increasing dramatically. He also guided the school through a number of radical changes in the education system including the manner of grading, reporting & recording systems, as well as the social changes in behaviour and dress and coped with end-of-Year 12 pranks.
The staff were team members and also had fun at special events such as staff dinners.
Maurie himself became involved in community and personal activities, including Rotary, becoming the Foundation Secretary of the South Bunbury Rotary Club. He also involved himself and family in the Golf Club. The whole family too was involved in the Swimming Club, finally influencing a proper swimming pool to be built in Bunbury.
Maurie retired after thirty-four years in the Education Department, proud of his achievements. Unable to just relax, he then spent time working in his son’s accountancy firm and of course continuing with his golf and other pursuits.
Maurie and Lorna have managed to fit in moments of travel, and have visited places such as UK and Europe in general and Greece in particular.
Maurie and Lorna have proudly seen their children succeed in life and have families of their own.