Coping as a Teacher in the Outback in New South Wales, 1880-1900: John Ainsworth - A Case Study

Ainsworth, John S. (2003) Coping as a Teacher in the Outback in New South Wales, 1880-1900: John Ainsworth - A Case Study. In Bradley, Rebecca, Lyddon, Jeff, & Buys, Laurie (Eds.) Social Change in the 21st Century, 21 November 2003, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane.


Historical biography offers a unique perspective on social change, by viewing develop-ments over time through the experience of a particular individual. Thus, a biographical case study provides an insight into how such an individual may have effected, and been affected by change in his or her own environment or society. The case study for this paper is my great-grandfather, John Ainsworth (1849-1919), who had a long career as a teacher with the Department of Public Instruction in New South Wales. John Ainsworth emigrated from England to Australia in 1869, settling initially at Lambton, near Newcastle in New South Wales, where he found work as a miner with the Scottish-Australian Coal Company. Ten years later, having married and begun to raise a young family on a coal miner’s meagre income, he decided on a fundamental career change and took a six-month teacher training program with the Department of Public Instruction. After graduation, he embarked on a teaching career with the department that, from 1880 to 1900, would see him posted as school master to remote locations in the outback west of Inverell (5 years), Singleton (7 years) and then Orange (8 years). The focus of this paper is on how he managed to cope as a school master in such remote locations where:the climate was often quite harsh; the residential accommodation provided by the department for his growing young family was invariably inadequate; and the facilities available for teaching and learning were only very basic at best. The paper also considers how he did so despite official indifference, and even hostility, towards any of the proposals or other initiatives taken on his part to remedy or improve the difficult situation as outlined above.

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ID Code: 112
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Additional Information: Author contact details:
Keywords: Historical biography, Historiography, History of education, New South Wales
ISBN: 0646431056
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > SOCIOLOGY (160800) > Social Change (160805)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LANGUAGES COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE (200000) > CULTURAL STUDIES (200200) > Cultural Studies not elsewhere classified (200299)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > SOCIOLOGY (160800) > Sociology of Education (160809)
Divisions: Past > Research Centres > Centre for Social Change Research
Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > QUT Carseldine - Humanities & Human Services
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2003 John S. Ainsworth
Deposited On: 10 Jun 2004 00:00
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2010 12:21

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