Back to Galleries
By Ann Baldwin
13 October 2008
British Army School
I can't remember much about the building only it was a big old
place. No-one seems to have a photo. I spoke to my mother and
she things it was off Peele Street (?). I do however, remember
going to school on an old yellow bus, it would stop on the way
at a Chinese store and we would buy lollies.
I was driven home from school with my friend Victoria WHITE whose
father was in the Australian Army. Lessons were formal. We sat
at desks with inkwells and pens. Writing was formal - big trouble
if you made too many blots. English lessons included elocution,
grammar and reading. If you were out shopping and any of the teachers
were around they would correct you.
Arithmetic was advanced. We had to do our times-tables, adding
and subtraction although only in grade 2.
Transfer to RAAF School Penang
School was in the Mayor's house, a beautiful old building with
a lovely big green lawn. We played here. The uniform was a white
dress with a map of Australia with a kangaroo. We had flavoured
powdered milk: chocolate or strawberry. It was a shock to the
system when I was given a lead pencil. Hold to print, also the
arithmetic was only adding up and take-away. I became very bored.
School was only half a day because it was too hot. In the afternoons
we would go swimming, ballet classes, Brownies or play with our
pet white rabbits or baby ducklings.
We did not have radio, tennis courts etc.
I spoke to my mother who related that when we went to Malaya
it was Qantas to Singapore, then local plane to Penang, picked
up in a ute and taken to supposed accommodation which was a hotel.
It was only after a lot of negotation that we moved to our first
place which happened to be substandard and I got pneumonia and
ended up in the local general hospital.
(When we docked in Indonesia because there was a conflict with
the Dutch, we were boarded by the Indian army, eventually sailed
away to experience more trauma when the the ship nearly sunk in
Australian Bight because of storms and limped its way to port
with many casualities.)
We then moved to the two-storey house on the hill.
Also: Someone might remember a cheeky little girl when
told by the RAAF bus driver to sit down, told him her dad was
in charge of the bus and she could do what she wanted. This got
back to dad. I was marched up to front the driver and told to
apologise! I will never forget this and I'm sure the bus driver
didn't. I learnt my lesson.