pally is 100

Celebrating Palmyra Primary School's Centenary in 2013

Memories from the Thorne family


Palmyra Pioneers  –  The Thorne Family

Henry (Harry) and Lillian Thorne had eight children, Marjorie, Norman, Jessie, Mamie, Jean, Colin, Rose and Valerie.

Harry, a builder originally from Kent, England built a lovely Federation style home in Forrest Street, Palmyra around 1920.  He also built many of the stately brick homes in East Fremantle, and was contracted to work on building the Hoyts Theatre in Fremantle.

Valerie the youngest born was struck down with infantile paralysis and was confined to a wheelchair. For the term of  her short life, she required home schooling.  The other seven children all attended Palmyra Primary School.   My dear Mum (Mamie) always boasted that she was a “rounders” champion at school. (We now know the game as softball)

Up until shortly before she passed away in 2011, Mamie  lived her entire life in Palmyra. Siblings Norman, Colin & Jean also raised their families in Palmyra. In 1944 Mamie married Les Batty, a young soldier from York.  Our family home was built in Aurelian Street, directly opposite the school.  My brother Rodney (dec) and I both attended the school during the 1950’s-early 1960’s.   The Palmyra P & C  has always been very strong with support and fundraising.  I remember the regular “tuck shops”, and  my father running the “Bridge” nights for parents at the school.

Some of my treasured memories of my time at the school are as follows.
Year one was known as “Bubs”, and for many  years Mrs Moss taught the little ones.  She was a delightful lady who had such a kind  and gentle manner with very young children.

Mr Tom Ward was the Headmaster, and Mr Jack Lacey was Deputy Principal.  Other teachers who stand out in my memory are Miss Tupper, Mrs Thomas, Mr Ray Mawson and Mr Kangannis.  Norm Baker was the school gardener at that time and for many years after. He took great pride in the school.

The corner store was run by George and Madge Harrison.  Lunch orders would be taken at the shop before school, and Mr Harrison would deliver lunches into the school ground in his van.  Living opposite the school it was very rare for me to buy lunch, and a real treat. A typical lunch consisting of a pie with sauce, a cream bun (or meringue) and a drink would set you back 2/- (decimal equivalent 20c)

The student population was increasing rapidly  and the school was bulging at the seams. When  In  grade five (1961)  my class travelled each day to a tiny wooden church at the bottom of McKimmie Rd for our schooling. From memory we spent the best part of the year there, making regular treks up the hill to the main school for sports days and special occasions. Mr Kangannis was our teacher during that time.  At the rear of the church was all natural bushland.  We had the time of our lives there, building cubbies ,clubhouses etc during recess times.

Back at the main school – The school bell was situated at the top of the ramp on the edge of the verandah, and if you were a grade 6 or 7 student you may be selected to be the official bell ringer for the week, a role taken very seriously by the chosen few.

Many friendships made during my school days still exist today.

I am very proud to have been part of the school’s history, and will continue my association as my youngest grandson Lucas Dobber has just commenced his journey at the school.

I look forward to the exciting activities in this the centenary year.

Kind Regards,
Pam Butler


4 thoughts on “Memories from the Thorne family

  1. I remember Colin and Valery very well. Colin and I played “lead soldiers” at Colin’s Forrest Street home often.
    I too went to Pally school with Colin from about 1937 to 1942 and the Pally School organisers have my earlier post.
    Kind regards
    Eric Chester late of 16 Adrian Street Palmyra

  2. Wonderful post Pam….filled in a few gaps for me!! I attended Palmyra school from 1947 – ’53.
    I haven’t heard anyone comment on a teacher, Mr McManus…. I think he taught yr 4 or 5 at the time. I really enjoyed my year in his class!
    Kind regards,
    Rhonda Begg (nee Williams)

  3. Pam that is exactly as I remember it. We were at the old Church of Christ in McKimmie Road. My Nan (Metcalf) was opposite the school and my mother (Ivy Jones nee Metcalf) is still living in Palmyra aged 93, my father Ken Jones passed in February this year aged 97. They attended Paly school, my Mum from 1926 on. Jack McManus as I remember taught year 6 and was at one time deputy principal. He drove me to the Doctors surgery when I split my head open and had to have stitches aged 6. Will be attending the celebrations, so hope to catch up with people then.

  4. Pam, would you be kind enough to call me on 0439942 620, as I believe that you lived opposite my Grand parents George and Mona Andrew, 92 forest Street and my Mother Jean, her sisters Lillian and Norma and brother George were friends.

    I am taking Mum and George to the reunion on the 9th.

    Bradley Hay

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