pally is 100

Celebrating Palmyra Primary School's Centenary in 2013

Memories from Reg Vagg


Sorry it’s been awhile between posts! The book has been keeping us busy, but now the content is all written we can concentrate on the blog and getting some of the memories up there.

Reg has submitted some great snippets of memories about the school. He attended the school from 1955 to 1960

He attended with:

Lester Vagg (brother) 1957 to 1960.  My memory of classmates has diminished with the years, but I remember….. John Hoskins, Doug Waghorne, Kevin Atkinson, Les Chetwyn, ? Jackson, Teresa ?, Julie Hansen, Vicki ?, Gwen ?, Ken ?.

Here are his memories:

Class Rooms and Teachers

As I remember, the grades began in the eastern wing, moved to the southern wing and by grade 6/7 you were in the western wing.

1955 – Grade 1, Miss Moss

1956 – Grade 2, ??

1957 – Grade 3, Mr J. Cocks

1958 – Grade 4, Mrs Rowley

1959 – Grade 5 Miss R Ferguson until about July, then Mrs Gay

1960 – Grade 6, Mr J Desland.

1961 – Moved to Brentwood Primary

The Headmaster, at least from 1957 was Mr T. Ward.

The Gardener was a very large man (as I recall) with a moustache. I was surprised to see his photograph in the West Australian perhaps 7  to 10 years ago and an article about his retirement. He must have been at Palmyra for close to 50 years. I can recall him sharing a large pomegranate with myself and a mate down by the incinerator.

General Memories

Maybe 1956/57?, the school boundary fence was extended to block Tamar St. The block of bush to the north of the school was cleared and made into an oval. A water bore was sunk near the Tamar St entrance.

The bike racks were under a large tuart tree by Mckimmie/Tamar St. From there you could sometimes see the black puffs in the sky and hear the muffled crumps of the Leighton Battery when they were on exercise.

On the rare occasions when we were able to buy our lunch, we went to a deli/general store on the corner of Aurelian and McKimmie.  We were allowed unlimited access to that store during our lunch break. Maybe around 1958 the P&C or their forerunner began to supply lunch one or two days a week for a minimal cost. My favourite was a polony and tomato sauce roll.  We ate lunch in a wooden lunch room on the northern edge of the assembly area, but later moved into the undercroft under the eastern wing (which was much cooler in summer)

Most families owned one car, and there very few lifts to school. Most of us walked or rode bikes, trikes or scooters.  The traffic was much less than today and I can only recall two accidents with kids involved. There were few footpaths or kerbs and we walked along the road verge. Walking to school I would pass Millers Bakery on the corner of Hammad and Baal with its wonderful smells of fresh bread and horses.  Millers had stables and horse paddocks there and bread was delivered daily by horse and cart.

We attended swimming lessons at the Bicton Baths.  Swan river whalers and hypothermia were obviously not considered then. I wasn’t too keen and was afraid of the jelly fish and the crabs. I never did learn to swim there.

Playground and Games

There was some gym equipment in the sandy area to the east of the school, but mostly we played “all over red rover”, catch, and cricket/foolball when the oval was available. When little, I remember we played “cars’ under the moreton bay fig tree by Tamar place, using half bricks for cars and making roads etc. I know I squashed a finger between two of those bricks and was treated by a grade 7 girl who took me to the office and applied bandaids. Marbles were also a big thing. We had names for the various types, “doogers, pee-wees, tom-bowlers, crystals and bloods”  I was never very good and remember losing most of mine.

Historical Events

I cannot remember any significant events that affected us at school. When the USSR sent up the first “sputnik” we would stand out at night looking for it, but I cannot recall it being an event at school. We did not begin to play space traveller or change from our regular “cowboy & indians” or “armies”

Anzac day was taken quite seriously, I guess because most of us had parents and grandparents who had been through one or both wars.

 Thanks Reg!


5 thoughts on “Memories from Reg Vagg

  1. Hi Reg , yes I remember you .My name was Leonie Ihle . The people you remember are Gwen Smith , Vicki Livingston, Teresa Morell, and Ken Renfrey. I have been organizing reunions for students that attended Palmyra Primary School from 1955-1961 for many years now . We have them every 4-5 years and have had about 5 now .
    Most of us went on to the the new High School at Melville.
    Our reunions are always fun and its always great to re connect with the children we spent so much time with in our early days .
    I hope to see you on Centenary day at the school .

    • Hi Leonie,
      I remember a “Leonie” but can’t place it. What a long time ago! Yes, I will be attending the Centenary day. See you there.


  2. The previous headmaster was Mr McManus and the deputy was Mr Mawson, from memory. I remember playing “red rover all over” which was in the black sand down the side of the school, so when we got back to class we must have been filthy. Other games were “brandy” where we would paste each other as hard as we could with a tennis ball, leaving red marks (branding each other). Another was where we would run through prickly bushes daring the other kid to chicken out. Of course we only had shorts on so we got scratched up a bit, we were real men so we couldn’t show any pain.
    (ps I don’t think the painful games lasted but they were remembered)

  3. I remember a Lester Vagg in my class at some stage. Didnt realise that he’d left in 1960. Guess that would have been after year 4 with Mr Kanganas in the church hall. I remember playing in the bush there and building cubby houses, with all manner of floral decorations! By the time I was in year 7 in 1963, the deputy was Mr Lacey and the headmistress, Miss Tupper. I think the principal was still Mr Ward(he was there a long time, even when I came back on prac from teachers’ college!) We had to walk from the hall for sewing and we had Miss Tupper for that. I was terrified of her-a lot of us were. I also wasnt very good at sewing!
    The gardener’s name was Norm Baker. I think he was there for a lot of years as, well.
    Another activity that the girls used to take part in that I think was denied the boys, was washing the teachers’ dishes after morning tea. It was a very plum job to be picked for and all the girls wanted to do it. That went on for a long time in schools but would have been phased out about 20 years ago at least, for obvious reasons.
    I had two older brothers that attended the school, as well-Rodney and Glenn O’Brien. They would have started in 1950 and 52 respectively. We all went on to different high schools. Rodney to John Curtin, Glenn to Applecross and me to Melville. All fairly new high schools when we first went to them(and they’re all still there!) Not much use for sharing uniforms,though! Poor Mum.
    There must have been a huge population explosion in the secondary schools to open 3 in the same district over about a ten year period.

  4. Loved reading your memories Reg, it takes me back for sure! Am looking forward to the big day in November.
    Julie Hansen

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