pally is 100

Celebrating Palmyra Primary School's Centenary in 2013

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Gary Carter’s memories

Apologies to Gary Carter for missing his blog submission, it came through in the few days before the centenary celebration and slipped through the cracks.

Other family members and friends who attended (and years if known): Sisters Vicki and Julie.
Wife Marilyn Corish (1958 and 1965)
Daughter Tory in 1983

Years attended Palmyra: 1957 – 1963

We lived up the Stock Road end of Tamar Street. My Mum still lives there. I remember the street to the school was one lane and lined both sides with white limestone rocks. For at least Grade 1 in 1957 the road ran straight through the schoolgrounds.
I thought I was real special in Grade 1 because I was always the first name read out when they called the roll every morning. Then after a few weeks I was moved to a different Grade 1 class, and all of a sudden this wa***r called Graham Bell got called out first!  By about Grade 4 I finally had the ah-ha moment when the intricacies of the alphabet dawned on me. Years later Graham Bell became pretty well my best mate!
A lady on this site mentioned doing Grade 4 with Mr Kanganis down the Church at the Canning Highway end of McKimmie Street. I was there too! We played cricket at what the teachers called “the cow patch” on the corner of McKimmie and Solomon, where the kindy is. It is all nice and grassy today, back then it was all black sand and pretty well hopeless for playing cricket on.

I loved footy but was pretty  hopeless at it. Somehow they made me captain of the School “B” team. We had these really dodgy hand-sewn gurnseys. I guess some lades went to a lot of trouble knitting them, but I really envied the lads in the “A” team who had proper jumpers. I barracked for East Perth and always went to footy training in my East Perth jumper (boy I took a lot of stick for that!) It was a proper jumper and I wanted the number 15 on it because that was my favourite player. But instead of buying and sewing on a couple of proper numbers my poor old mother went to the trouble of hand sewing it on on her old Singer. Unfortunately whilst she did a serviceable enough job on the 1, the 5 looked like an “S”. That Russel Christensen never shut up about it – “and it’s Number Is for East Perth…”.  Bastard.



Vicki Ebert’s (Carter) memories 1960 – 66

 I have some vivid memories of primary school, and then some of them have just gone!! I remember my first day, my teacher was Miss Harwood, and I had taken all my new crayons ( leviathons) – she tried to get me to use old ones in the class room but I was determined!! We Only went half days in primary school for the first 2 weeks I think.

Mr Hancock in Grade 4 but some of them must have not too memorable!!

Mr Italiano in Grade 5 was a whizz at throwing the duster at the naughty boys! Miss Yelland in Grade 6 was my favorite. I think both the girls and the boys had a crush on her. I thought she was so old, but when I look back she was only in her twenties. I was part of a Callisthenics team of girls that she coached to an interschool competition, and we won!! I have photos of us in our leotards with crepe paper!! Such a thrill.

In Grade 7 I had Mr Lacey and Miss Tupper – boy was she a scary lady!! I used to have to go to piano lessons in South Fremantle twice a week, and it was pretty crucial that I got out of school on time, scooted up the hill and was on the next bus so I could get to my lesson on time. I think Miss T used to deliberately ignore me, and I used to be stressed out before I even got to my lesson! Mr Lacey was just gorgeous, and I think everyone loved him! I do remember Michael Jez was particularly annoying, and used to run over the top of the desks pretending to be a monkey! My Mum thought he was lovely because when he walked home past our house, he used to say ” hello Mrs Carter”.

We lived at the Stock Rd end of Tamar St, so used to ride our bikes or walk to school. Every lunch time we went home apart from Friday, which was very exciting as it was tuck shop day. There was the shop on the corner near the school, or the other one that we called the “Top Shop”. The boys all came in bare feet – winter or summer. We had that nasty shiny paper in the toilets!

 Mr Mawson used to coach the girls netball team – I was short so never got a go!! The first time I played netball again I was in my 30’s. Very unfair I thought!

We used to play skippy with a rope, hopscotch, and we used to juggle a lot against the brick walls with tennis balls.I also remember the playground with the monkey bars and the bar where all the girls would put their leg over, grasp it below,and go round and round. Pity none of this is there now – too unsafe. ( Apparently)


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


Pally in the 50s – from Chris Cook

Thanks Chris for this lovely overview of his family’s time at the school:

My name is Chris Cook. I am 65, and lived in Palmyra in the 50’s and attended Palmyra school with my brother Michael and sisters Lesley and Janice.

My grandchildren, Cohen and Harper are today attending Pally, and even more extraordinarily, my father Ormond (Ned) also attended Pally school back in 1922.

Ned’s family moved to Adrian Street in Palmyra in 1922, about the time Ned started School. He had two older sisters, Gladys and Gwen, and a younger sister, Jean, and a younger brother, Maurie, who probably attended the school. So the Cook family has a long history with the School.

I remember the school being a very solid federation style building, with wide verandahs, high ceilings, nice gardens, not much lawn, but a bitumen square assembly/play area, and a large treed sandy area to play in on the Eastern side of the school abutting Tamar Street. The rooms were cold in winter, but had open fireplaces lit on cold days. In summer, if it got hot, you just put up with it, as you did at home – no aircon in those days. Continue reading


Memories from Nanette

Nanette Richards (nee Hovey attended the school from 1956 to 62.

One of her memories relates to what happened when the school was dealing with a boom of students after the war.

 In grade four, due to overcrowding at the school, our class was sent down to the old church in McKimmie road for the year.  Our teacher was Mr. Kanganas.  We would walk up the hill for sport and sewing classes with the rest of the school but otherwise spent all our time at the church.  We had lots of fun as the church was on a big block and we could play in amongst the trees and undergrowth. I remember, with my best friend Penny Harrison, making our own little cubby area which we decorated with wildflowers and creepers.  I also remember at the front of the  church was a piece of the floor which could be pulled up with rope handles  and beneath it was a large cement ‘bath’ which we assumed was for baptisms.

Other memories include using inkwells and being the ink monitor.  I was a messy kid so always ended up with ink everywhere.  Was very pleased to be able to use biros in year five.

At school we used to listen to a radio program (broadcast over the PA system) which was for schools and involved a song book.  Cant remember what it was called but I do remember thinking that one day we would be watching this on tv rather than listening to the radio.

Does anyone else remember the church on McKimmie? I guess that’s where the kindy is these days?


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!

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Mapped out in the 50s

Wally Knott has mapped out the school as he recalls it in the 50s. This is before Tamar St was cut off and the oval created and before the additional classes were added to make a U shape around the quadrangle.

If anyone else feels like putting pen to paper, or taking Wally’s map and adding on the buildings that were there in their time, please scan away and send through to

Pally map in the 50s