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Notebook - Teacher's Notes & Recipes, 1911-1959 Object Reg. No: HT 29162

Summary:
Notebook with soft brown cover and tartan fabric repair to spine, embossed on cover 'University Note Book'. Contains 27 pages of teachers' notes, over-pasted with recipes, mostly cuttings but some hand-written.

The visible teaching notes are dated 1911, and include the headings 'Aims', 'Previous Knowledge', 'Preparation' and 'Statement of Aim'. On the backs of several of these pages of notes, another hand has written comments on lessons given - likely to be the comments of a school inspecctor. On page 19 he writes: 'The lesson was too much of a lecture...The lesson followed the notes exactly...In the revision stage better work was done...' The lessons include the geography of the Nile River, 'Nature Study - The Root'.

Near the back of the notebook several pages have been ruled for recording personal food expenses for January 1924.

The notebook belonged to Violet Meere, born 28 April 1893 in Dalyesford, Victoria. She was one of seven children to Philip Francis Meere and Harriet Charlotte Hill. Around 1910-11 she trained as a school teacher at Ballarat Teachers' College. She was appointed to her first school at Kout Narin (Kout Nareen, also recorded as Koutnaren) School near Harrow in the Western District. She was given the task of re-opening the school, although it was her first school and she was aged only 17. She had to start work without being able to say goodbye to her parents. In later years Violet remembered that some of the pupuls were older than her, and one asked her out. She particularly worried about visits from school inspectors, which are recorded in her notebook.

It was near Harrow that she probably met her future husband, Peter Herbert Walsh (known as Herbert), who was working on a farm at Salt Lake. She married him on 15 June 1918 in St Kilda, Melbourne. They had four children - Dorothy Joyce, Francis (Frank), John and Leo. Some time in the 1920s - family lore recalls it was a hot day - Herbert quenched his thirst at the local hotel in Harrow, and decided to buy it. Violet was displeased, and remained in their home on the hill while Herbert worked down in the hotel. Over time, though, Violet became involved, and began to make meals for their patrons. (Some of the recipes in the notebook appear to be catering quantities for the hotel.) Herbert and Violet later ran small hotels in Digby, near the South Australian border (which burned down), and Panmure, near Warrnambool. An undated newspaper article headed 'Panmure' describes a farewell for the family: 'residents from Panmure and surrounding districts gathered to show their appreciation of the services rendered by these popular citizens during their stay here....[They] proved themselves good citizens and sorts and the local sporting bodies will greatly miss the generous help and support that had been afforded them. Mrs. Walsh was a keen supporter of school activities and the children as scholars had set a high example. Mr. and Mrs. Walsh were always to the fore in any movement for the advancement of the town, and their departure will be a disctinct loss.'

About 10 November 1934, the Hamilton Spectator recorded that a new hotel had opened in Digby, built by Mr H. Walsh (a replacement to the one that had burned down). It was 'an up-to-date structure of reinforced concrete, with all modern equipment including electric lighting' - a 'big improvement to the town', and 'much more convenient' for the 'travelling public'.

Herbert and Violet stopped running hotels in the late 1940s.

Violet died on 21 October 1978 in Melbourne, and is buried at Cheltenham Cemetery.
Description:
Notebook with soft brown cover and tartan fabric repair to spine. Contains over 100 pages, printed with blue lines, interleaved with article cuttings. About one third has been written in or has articles pasted in or loose. The first 27 pages are hand-numbered, and appear to be teaching notes. The first few of these pages - apparently of hand-written teaching notes - are adhered together. It appears that the teaching notebook was then used as a recipe book, with recipes stuck directly over the notes - very visible on page 5, for example.

The many pages of recipes are a combination of hand-written recipes and cuttings from a range of sources, including The Australian Women's Weekly (18 Dec 1943), the Sun (8 Oct 1955) and The Leader Spare Corner Book (although most sources are unrecorded). Inserts include a complete Vickers Book of Cocktail Recipes (circa 1959s-1960s) and '21 exciting...Nestle's Famous Soups'.

Several of the teaching notes are dated 1911, and include the headings 'Aims', 'Previous Knowledge', 'Preparation' and 'Statement of Aim'. On the back of page 19, another hand has written comments on a lesson: 'The lesson was too much of a lecture...The lesson followed the notes exactly...In the revision stage better work was done...' The lessons include the geography of the Nile River, 'Nature Study - The Root'.

Near the back of the notebook, several pages have been ruled for recording personal food expenses for January 1924, although the author's enthusiasm quickly fades out. A few pages later, hand-written directions for knitting a jumper begin, in another hand-writing. A cluster of loose recipe cuttings (and a few relating to laundering and keeping house) follow. At the back is a loose back page from an exercise book that provides arithmetical tables.
Statement Of Significance:
This notebook is of considerable significance as an ephemeral object relating to the life of a woman in early to mid-20th century Victoria. Of particular interest is its re-purposing: from a teacher's notebook around 1911 to 1918, to an accounting book in 1924, to a recipe book in the 1940s and 1950s, some of which may have been used for cooking in a public hotel. The book has been used until the cuttings were tatted and stained - heavy use which so vividly recalls women's work in the early to mid-20th century. It also recalls the frugality of another era, when a book could be so thorough re-used that even the pre-used pages were pasted over and used again, before the blank pages were used. In 'Our Schools and the War' (2012, p.45), Rosalie Triolo notes the shortage of basic classroom supplies during World War I. A former pupil of Camp Hill recalled that 'paper and exercise books became almost unprocurable', while in some schools paper ran out completely. Since Violet Meere was using this book during World War I, her frugal habits seem to reflect that experience.

Ironically, about two-thirds of the book was never used - the book appears to have been set aside around 1960, perhaps since it had by then become so tatty that the spine had broken away from the cover and the bound pages were starting to fall out. Nevertheless, it was preserved by its maker for the rest of her life, and kept by her family after her passing.

The contents of the book offer consider avenue for future research: the teacher's notes, so diligently written when the author was apparently a student teacher; the recipes themselves, spanning at least 1940s and 1950s, both sweet and savoury, from a wide range of sources (an insight into family cooking and diet of the period, as well as hotel food); and finally a brief insight into a family's food budget in 1924.
Acquisition Information:
Donation from Kerry Gonzales, 2010
Discipline: History
Dimensions: 265 mm (Height), 205 mm (Width)
Dimension Comment: Size includes not just notebook, but also pages and loose sheets that are hanging out of the sides.

More information

Tagged with: children, accounting, education training, teaching aids, hotels, publicans, world war i 1914-1918
Themes this item is part of: Childhood & Youth Collection, Domestic & Community Life Collection, Public Life & Institutions Collection, Working Life & Trades Collection
Primary Classification: EDUCATION
Secondary Classification: Curriculum
Tertiary Classification: teaching notes
Inscriptions: Embossed on cover 'University Note Book'. Extensive text throughout in pencil and ink, as well as printed articles.
Date Made: Violet Walsh (nee Meere), Victoria, Australia, 1911-1969

Latest date based on latest dated cutting identified so far in notebook
References: Information on Violet Walsh (nee Meere) provided by donor at time of donation, and by Violet's son Leo Walsh and grandaughter Naomi Walsh during a visit to Melbourne Museum on 12 September 2012.

Rosalie Triolo, 2012. 'Our Schools and the War'

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