School Magazines

avon_northam_june_1939_cover_2016-10-26_0936School magazines provide a fascinating glimpse into the past.

What was high school like from 1915 through to the 1950s? What issues interested teenagers? How did they react to current events including two world wars? In what ways did they express themselves differently from today’s teens? What sort of jokes did they find amusing? (Hint: there are many of what we would call “dad jokes”.)

The State Library holds an extensive collection of school magazines from both public and private schools. Most don’t start until after 1954 which, as with newspapers, is our cut-off date for digitising, but we have digitised some early issues from public schools.


In the first part of the 19th Century they were generally produced by the students, with minimal input from school staff – and it shows. The quality of individual issues varies widely, depending, most probably, on the level of talent, interest and time invested by the responsible students.


Cricket cartoon Northam High School (The Avon) Sept. 1930

These magazines may include named photographs of prefects and staff, sporting teams and academic prize winners. Photographs from early editions tend to be of much higher quality, possibly because they were taken using glass negatives.


Essay competition. The subject: “A letter from Mr Collins congratulating Elizabeth on her engagement to Mr Darcy”  Phyllis Hand and Jean McIntyre were the prize winners.      Perth Girls’ School Magazine Nov. 1922

You will find poetry and essays, sketches by and of students, amateur cartooning, and many puns, jokes and limericks.

Some issues include ex-student notes with news about the careers, marriages and movements of past students. There is an occasional obituary.


Northam High School (The Avon) June 1943


Does anyone know these twins from Meckering?  Northam High School (The Avon) May 1925

Issues from the war years are particularly interesting and touching. You may also find rolls of honour naming ex-students serving in the forces.

There is also often advertising for local businesses.










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Girls’ A Hockey Team Albany High School (Boronia) Dec. 1925

These magazines reflect the attitudes of their tight-knit local community of the time.  Expect to hear the same exhortations to strive for academic, moral and sporting excellence that we hear in schools today – while observing the (in retrospect) somewhat naïve patriotism and call to Empire and the occasional casual racism.


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The following high school magazines for various dates are either available now online or will appear in the coming weeks: Perth Boys’ School MagazinePerth Girls’ School Magazine (later The Magpie); Fremantle Boys’ School; Northam High School (The Avon); Girdlestone High School (Coolibah); Eastern Goldfields Senior High School (The Golden Mile – later Pegasus); Bunbury High School (Kingia); Albany High School (Boronia) and Perth Modern (The Sphinx). None are complete and we would welcome donations of missing volumes to add to our Western Australian collections.

If you would like to browse our digitised high school magazines search the State Library catalogue using the term: SCHOOL MAGAZINES

*Some issues of The Magpie are too tightly bound for digitising so they are currently being disbound. They will then be digitised and rebound. Issues should appear in the catalogue in the near future.

The Metropolitan Dental Company

Teeth of Charm and beauty slwa_b2034953_18

One would not normally associate a dental company with glitz and glamour, but during the first half of the 20th century Perth’s major dental firm had an image of modernity and high fashion without equal in Western Australia.

The Metropolitan Dental Company was established in 1908 advertising its aim to provide affordable dental care for all, including people on lower incomes.


Advertising for dental products from the ephemera collection of the Metropolitan Dental Company.

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Advertising for dental products from the ephemera collection of the Metropolitan Dental Company.

The State Library has a small but delightful collection of material relating to the Metropolitan Dental Company including photographs, a day book, scrapbooks, certificates, advertising mock-ups and other ephemera.


Drawing of the (proposed?) exterior of the Metropolitan Dental Company 00716D

Hay Street, Perth premises of the Metropolitan Dental Company slwa_b3473316_2

Hay Street, Perth premises of the Metropolitan Dental Company 1927 100182PD

Metropolitan Dental Company

The building at 790 Hay Street, Perth today. [The Apple Store] Photo: Google Maps Street View.

The Company was described as the biggest in the Southern Hemisphere. The owners were Wolf Blitz, Alfred Kaufman, and Alfred Rogers, with notable dentists such as Edgar McGillicuddy, Thomas Wilson and Albert E. Ford working for the company at various times.

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The Metropolitan Dental Company advertised widely in newspapers, using the lure of a short anecdote or educational snippet followed by an invitation to use their services. In fact they made an art of the “advertorial”.  Some examples of marketing gems from Trove Newspapers include:

“Aseptic  Methods in  Modern Dentistry” – absolutely sterile instruments…

“Deadlier than Snake Venom” – food detritus and tooth cavities.

“Mental, Physical and Moral Degeneration” – the link between juvenile delinquency and bad teeth…“Private health really means public morals”.  [Yes! Really.]

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A day book from 1908 lists appointments, treatment and fees charged. It is noted that Mrs Townsend of Highgate Hill had to cut short her treatment on being called away to Albany “her child having broken its collarbone”.

Included in the collection are some original artworks for advertising and for the windows of the company’s offices. A mock-up for a Neon sign is so impressively bright that one is tempted to take it into a darkened room to see if it glows.

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Also in the advertising ephemera are several metal printer’s engraving plates that are wonderful works of art in their own right.

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Metropolitan Dental Company collection ACC1863A/19

To associate an air of beauty and sophistication with a dental firm is no easy task, but the Metropolitan Dental Company achieved this by employing attractive young women to grace their colourful posters.

The full collection of photographs may be viewed here.

The Metropolitan Dental Company is just one of the private business archives in the State Library Collections. These records provide a view into a past that is so much more vibrant and interesting than we may have thought from viewing black and white photographs.

We are always pleased to hear from members of the community who may have private business records that they would like to be considered for the State Heritage Collections.

Sailing great Jon Sanders visits State Library

Yachting legend Jon Sanders world record for sailing around the world three times solo is still unbroken.  His Perie Banou log book is on display now at State Library of Western Australia. 

In 1988 Sanders changed global yachting history when he broke the Guinness World Record for the longest distance ever sailed continuously by a vessel after travelling 658 days, 21 hours and 18 minutes at sea.

Evan Collins, Jon Sanders arrives at Fremantle on the Parry Endevour after his triple circumnavigation of the world, 13 March 1988, 135227PD – 125229PD, State Library of Western Australia pictorial collection.

Evan Collins, Jon Sanders arrives at Fremantle on the Parry Endevour after his triple circumnavigation of the world, 13 March 1988, 135227PD,  State Library of Western Australia pictorial collection.

Following his ninth circumnavigation of the world, the Perth born sailor has returned to Perth and recently visited Sailing on the Swan at the State Library.

The exhibition features original material including one of Sanders sailing log books from his double circumnavigation of the world aboard Perie Banou. The log records the ships position, current speeds, wind directions, and bearings. The page displayed shows notes from Perie Banou’s sail through the treacherous currents and hazardous winds in Southern Chile around Cape Horne.

Roger Garwood, Jon Sanders returns to Royal Perth Yacht Club on 31 October 1982 after his double circumnavigation of the world on Perie Banou, 1982, 296493PD, State Library of Western Australia pictorial collection

Roger Garwood, Jon Sanders returns to Royal Perth Yacht Club on 31 October 1982 after his double circumnavigation of the world on Perie Banou, 1982, 296493PD, State Library of Western Australia pictorial collection.

Exhibition highlights include a 1988 photograph of Sanders on Parry Endevour. The photograph was taken two days before he broke the world record for triple circumnavigation of the world.  Upon viewing the photo in the exhibition Sanders recalled that at the time strong winds forced a closure of Perth airport.

Jon Sanders pictured with photograph of Parry Endevour at Cape Leeuwin.

Jon Sanders pictured with photograph of Parry Endevour at Cape Leeuwin.

Interested in checking yacht log entries surrounding the Fauklands conflict in 1982,  Sanders reacquainted himself with the remainder of his 1979-1982 Perie Banou logbooks, held in the State Library heritage collections (ACC3229A). He recalled an entry where BBC Argentina “warned shipping to stay out of the 200 mile maritime zone around Fauklands”. The ten week war in 1982 between Argentina and the United Kingdom was over two British territories in the South Atlantic.

Jon Sanders with the Perie Banou logbooks

Jon Sanders with the Perie Banou logbooks

Sailing on the Swan is presented by the Royal Perth Yacht Club. The exhibition is on display at the State Library of Western Australia Ground Floor Gallery until May 3. Open during library hours.

What’s in a sketchbook?

Sketchbook by Amanda Fernandez, 2014 "WA Museum"

Sketchbook by Amanda Fernandez, 2014 

For centuries sketchbooks, notebooks and diaries have recorded daily life, observations from great explorer expeditions, personal accounts, and intricate details of past lives and times.

Call to mind the journal of Christopher Columbus’ voyage to the Americas, or Da Vinci’s curious inquiry into human anatomy in his 16th century sketchbooks. They are forms of storytelling and communication grounded in time and place, and shaped by the personalities and identities of their makers.

The State Library holds the notebooks of Edward T Hardman including an 1871 sketchbook which records his geological survey of the Kimberley region in pictures and words. A vellum bound book of poems written by Irish convict John B O’Reilly,1868 demonstrates his creative pursuit and passion as a poet, while Revel Cooper’s History Book speaks of his education as a 13 year old Aboriginal boy during Australia’s assimilation era. These records provide a rare insight into the culture and concerns of past Western Australia.

What would the diary or sketchbook of a young  person living in the 21st century look like?

Thoughts, musing, observations and vignettes of daily life are revealed in a collection of over fifty sketchbooks produced by young Western Australians. The sketchbooks feature illustration, photographs, poetry and collage, and were created through Propel Youth Arts WA’s Sketchbook Project, part of the KickstART youth festival.

“My sketchbook is my reflection”, writes 23 year old Soolangna Majumdar, “…a month long observation of what’s on my mind. One 60 page long selfie.”

Following an eight month tour throughout WA public libraries from Port Hedland to Manjimup, the sketchbooks have returned to Perth and are on display at the State Library.

One sketchbook by 24 year old artist Amanda Fernandez has caught the eye of our staff with its aesthetic beauty and descriptive watercolour sketches.

How many scenes are familiar to you?


View Amanda’s sketchbook and many more on display in the Discovery Lounge Ground Floor until 30 January 2015. Open during library hours.

More information:


Kingsley Fairbridge and the Fairbridge Farm School

Kingsley Fairbridge (5 May 1885 – 19 July 1924) was the founder of a child emigration scheme to the British colonies, and the Fairbridge Farm Schools. His life work was the founding of the “Society for the Furtherance of Child Emigration to the Colonies”, which was afterwards incorporated as the “Child Emigration Society” and ultimately the “Fairbridge Society”.

Throughout his life, Kingsley Fairbridge never lost sight of his aim to provide assistance to children who had very little chance of a successful life in the overcrowded cities of Britain.

In March 1912 Kingsley Fairbridge and his wife Ruby sailed for Western Australia with 2000 pounds. A property of 160 acres was purchased near Pinjarra about 60 miles (97 km) south of Perth, with the  Western Australian government  agreeing to pay 6 pounds for each child towards the cost of the passage money.

After several months of clearing of the property, as well as building basic accommodation (mainly tents), the first party of 13 boys, aged between 7 and 13, arrived in January 1913. In July they were followed by a second group of 22 boys.

There were severe financial difficulties during World War I until the government provided a grant that assisted the school through the war period. In August 1919 Kingsley Fairbridge went to England and managed to raise a sum of 27,000 pounds for the development of the school. The British Government’s Overseas Settlement Committee provided 20,000 pounds on condition that the Western Australian Government continued its grant of 6 shillings per week per child.

Kingsley Fairbridge died at the early age of 39 of a  lymphatic tumour and was buried at his school. The Fairbridge Farm School continued under a principal. At the time of Kingsley Fairbridge’s death, 200 children were at the school, and enrolment gradually reached a peak of 400.

The Old Fairbridgians’ Association of Western Association was formed in 1930 to serve as a benevolent organisation to enhance the welfare of Old Fairbridgians, those children whose home for part of their lives was at the Kingsley Fairbridge Farm School near Pinjarra in Western Australia.

The Old Fairbridgians’ Association hosts a Founder’s Day in honour of Kingsley Fairbridge. Each year on the Sunday closest to Kingsley’s passing (July 19 1924) many Old Fairbridgians make a pilgrimage to Fairbridge Farm and remember Kingsley and also meet up with old friends over lunch in the Clubhouse. All Old Fairbridgians and friends of Fairbridge are very welcome.

This year the Founder’s Day is being held on Sunday July 17, commencing with a service in the chapel at 11.00 am to commemorate the death of Kingsley Fairbridge, followed by lunch in the Old Fairbridgians’ Association clubhouse.

For more information on Kingsley Fairbridge and the Fairbridge Farm School, go to the Old Fairbridgians’ Association website:

Coolgardie as Matrimonial Field (1896!)

In 1896, this article taken from the local rag “Pioneer” encouraged “spinsters” to come to Coolgardie and seek husbands, whilst also warning that they may end up playing second fiddle to their husbands’ love of gold, gambling and drinking with their mates at the pub!

The West Australian, 19 February 1896.

You can view the article in it’s original form here on Trove.

COOLGARDIE AS A MATRIMONIAL FIELD – Coolgardie, according to the local Pioneer is as promising a matrimonial field as a goldfield. “Most of us” (writes the Pioneer) “are tired of single wretchedness, and we are feeling a distaste for dwellings where the feminine element is ever absent. In all trepidation we might point out to the girls in the East that Coolgardie is a fine field for matrimony. Here we have thousands of marriageable men, good-looking, high-spirited men, too – the making of honest husbands who could be lassoed into captivity with ease, and who, we are sure, would never regret the pleasant bondage.

We advise the fair spinsters of the East to come over, ensuring them of a hearty welcome in this land of gold and love. Husbands and gold rings are to be picked up here easily, when feminine grace and pretty fripperies stoop to conquer. They may have to put up with many little inconveniences, such as we have pointed out, but it would be their privilege to alter the prevailing state of affairs and win men from their attachment to the bar to that of a staunch allegiance to the cradle. And any woman worth her salt would find that not only an easy task but a congenial task.”

There is, however, another side to the picture for the same paper in the same article says: “Women who follow their husbands to the goldfields must be content to play second fiddle. The man looks upon speculation as his mistress, the bar, the open call, and the club as his companions. They become more essential, and, we regret to say, often more attractive to him than the canvas home and the wife’s conversation.

A goldfield ruins a man for domestic life, for what man can enjoy cold mutton, or even hot roast beef, with his wife, after boarding at a first-class hotel where he meets brainy men who give him an appetite? On a goldfield men of keen intelligence congregate, and they imbibe a love for gambling and speculation. Many of them will never settle down again, but wander from field to field making and losing fortunes. Travel they may enjoy, or life in the metropolis, but never again the domestic hearth and the constant ripple of a woman’s tongue”.

General view Londonderry Mine, Coolgardie, 1895?

General view Londonderry Mine, Coolgardie, 1895?

Over one hundred years later, Bernard Salt similarly suggested that single women make their way to a mining town in his 2008 book, “Man Drought”. According to Salt, the town with the best ratio of single men to single women on the Australian continent at the time of the 2006 census was the resources town of Glenden 165 km west of Mackay in Queensland.

Did you, or someone you know find love while working in a mining town? We would love to hear your story in the comments section below!

Fashion through the decades

Fashion lovers of Perth have been busy this week, spoiled by a choice selection of events as part of the 2010 Perth Fashion Festival.

There is no question that the Western Australian fashion industry is making a name for itself with the talent and innovation of local designers showcased through world-class catwalk shows, exciting retail events, inspiring workshops and vibrant performances throughout the city and metro area.

Interested in the history of the fashion industry in Perth? Let’s take a journey back down the catwalk via the State Library’s pictorial collection to discover the trends throughout the decades (and find out how far we’ve come!).





Wool fashion parade possibly at Royal Show 1987

For more information on browsing the State Library’s Pictorial Collection, click here.

Unique Diary donated to State Library

A recent gift to the State Library of W.A. has provided W.A. researchers with a unique link in the theological history of our state.

Law firm Minter Ellison, who trace their origins back to early Perth law firm Northmore, Hale Davey and Leake, founded in 1890, have long been in possession of a handwritten copy of a diary written by Rev. John Ramsden Wollaston on his journey from England to Western Australia in 1840 – 1841.
Rev. Wollaston was 50 when he arrived in W.A., having been commissioned by the church to establish a parish in the Bunbury/Australind area, and so founded the Anglican church at Picton. He later moved on to Albany and was subsequently appointed Archdeacon with responsibility for all of Western Australia. As Archdeacon he made 5 tours of his area of responsibility, each tour covering 1000 miles on horseback, largely through virgin bushland.

His diary “Journey from Gravesend to the Swan River, 1840-1841 in the Ship “Henry” (Capt Todd) 26/11/1840-19/4/1841 tells of daily life aboard ship and contains observations of birds, fish, the weather and countries visited on the way to Western Australia.

The handwritten copy donated by Minter Ellison was made by Canon Alfred Burton, a prolific theological historian who published scores of works on the establishment and growth of the church and church schools in W.A.

The diary will now be treated with a view to long term preservation and made available to researchers wishing to further explore the history of Rev. John Ramsden Wollaston.

Swan River Stories

Barrack Street Jetty 1906 Have you got a Swan River story? Please help our Battye Fellow Dr Sue Graham-Taylor with her work on the history of the Swan River.

Do you remember swimming classes in the River, prawning parties by lamp light, boating and yachting? Do you remember ferry trips, picnics by the River? Have you camped by the river, caught a fish, swum with your horse, or jumped off a cliff or a bridge into the River?

What are some of the events that you have attended on the Perth Esplanade? Have you been attacked by a shark? Did you ever eat a hamburger or dance at Bernies? Are you old enough to have visited Perth’s White City and what was it like before the Government closed it down for reasons of morality? Please share your story with others by emailing your story to Sue Graham-Taylor at

Aliens in Western Australia

018929pd.jpgNo, this is not a story about the Doctor and the Tardis, but now that I have your attention, read on! Have you ever wondered how you became a citizen before the 1871 Act  for the Naturalization of Aliens within the Colony of Western Australia? The answer is you got your very own Act of Parliament! Between 1841 and 1871, thirty-nine  people in WA had acts of parliament granting them citizenship. The first was Johann August Ludwig Preiss from Hanover, and the last was Peter Ferrara from Naples in the Kingdom of Italy. In between was Benjamin Franklin Simmons, and there are no Brownie points for guessing his country of origin,  and the Right Reverend Jose Maria Benedict Serra, known to us as Dom Joseph Benedict Serra, one of the co-founders of New Norcia.

The Act of 1871, known as the Naturalization Act, put and end to this interesting footnote in the history of the Colony of Westen Australia.