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School Days: Education in Victoria Exhibition

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by Kat May (subscribe)
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This exhibit will take you back to the good old days
During the late 1800s school days in Australia were very different than they are now. For a fascinating and educational look at days gone by, be sure you catch this new exhibition at Melbourne's historic Old Treasury Building. On display are images and memorabilia from the days when school was all about hard work and the three R's of reading, writing, and arithmetic. The exhibition is on now and continues six days per week until the 1st of September.

School Days Exhibition.
A slate board from the olden days. Children would practice their writing on this as paper was too scarce. Image by condesign on pixabay.com


Step inside and you will be taken to another world, when life for a child at school was very hard indeed. You will read of stories of what a day was like sitting on those hard chairs and working all day at a desk with ink and quills to write with. Younger children would have used a slate board to write on.

School Days Exhibition.
A heritage school house in Victoria: Thorpdale School was founded in 1889. Image by Pfctdayelise on wikicommons.org


Old photographs feature schools houses and classroom scenes. Paper was scarce in the old days and text books and a precious exercise book were well cared for possessions. The artifacts in the exhibit were researched and collated from the vaults of the state archives of Public Record Office Victoria.

The horrors of the Victorian era and the societal norms of the day are revealed in the way children were disciplined, and in the lax rules for attending school at all. Also highlighted in the exhibition are the education of aboriginal and migrant children, playgrounds and schoolteachers.

School Days Exhibition.
A school room in days of old. Image from werner22brigitte on pixabay.com


As part of the School Days public program, Old Treasury are hosting FREE floor talks twice on the second & fourth Tuesday of the month at 11am

17 March- 'Early Schooling' with Anita Lenkic
24 March- 'Free Secular Compulsory' with Carol Frost
14 April- 'Teaching in the Bush' with Rob Edmonds
28 April- 'Migrant Education' with Doug Robertson
12 May- 'Building Our Schools' with Ivar Nelsen
26 May- 'Women in Education' with Gabrielle Keating

Many thought provoking questions are raised in relation to educating the nation's children. What were 'ragged schools' of the 1860's? How did we come to the compulsory education system we have today?

This nostalgic and highly interesting exhibition would be an ideal outing for an extended family. Imagine the fascinating dialogue that could come from the mixed generations. And,speaking of the old days, take your mum and grandparents. They will love it.

For public transport take trams 11, 12, 31, 48, 109 or the free City Circle Tram and stop near the Old Treasury Building. By train stop at Parliament Station.
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Why? Because our past is fascinating.
When: March 2nd to September 1st 2015 10 am- 4pm Open every day except Saturday.
Phone: 9651 2233
Where: The Old Treasury Building, 20-70 Spring Street, Melbourne
Cost: Free.
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