pally is 100

Celebrating Palmyra Primary School's Centenary in 2013

November 9 – Spread the word

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Looking for photos of Ruth Sutherlin

Adele Terrell contacted us, because she is looking for photos of her Mother, Ruth C Sutherlin.

Ruth attended Palmyra Primary School from approximately 1956 – 1963.

Ruth’s birthday was 27/1/1950 – so not sure if they attended kindergarten back in those days.

Does anyone have any photos or remember Ruth?

Post in the comments if you can help Adele!


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Preorder your book this Sunday at the Pally markets

This Sunday – Pally Markets

This Sunday 22 September at the school from 8.30 to midday the Western Farmers Markets will be hosting a Happiness Harvest themed market to welcome in Spring.

Come along for all your veggies, but we’ll also be having a stall where we’ll be doing presales of the Centenary book. Having just finished proof reading it, it’s just fantastic and you’ll be blown away by all 173 pages of it!

At $45 per copy it makes a perfect Christmas present!

If you can’t make the markets, you can still preorder online at


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!