The year was 1973 and on Thursdays, sewing was on the agenda at Mitchell’s Island Public School (for girls only of course!)
Classes were held in the weather shed which was open on one side, being cold and wet in the winter and hot and steamy in the summer and filled with annoying flies. The girls would bring their sewing baskets with them while the 6th class boys assisted by carrying the box of other supplies from the school storeroom.
6th class girls were allowed to use the treadle sewing machine but not the younger girls as there was always the danger of accidents, such as the time one girl put the needle through her forefinger.
Older girls helped the younger ones with their work which was then carefully placed in sample books after being given a mark by the teacher we called Auntie Teen Mudford1: “Good Work” was the comment we longed for.
Among other things, we made aprons and did embroidery samples, keeping our embroidery cottons together in hand sewn drawstring bags. I loved making clothes for my Barbie Dolls – my dolls were very well dressed!
Auntie’s teaching instilled in me a love of needlework which, as a young woman, led me to pursue studies at TAFE encompassing dressmaking, pattern making and interior furnishing.
Thank you Auntie Teen!
Author: Bronwyn Earle (née Atkins)
1 NSW BDM: Birth 8216/1906 Fannie B Mudford