Daphne Trotter was born at Pampoolah in 1919 to Clarence and Victoria Trotter, a descendant of Manning River pioneers Thomas and Mary Trotter.1 She commenced her schooling at the little one teacher school at Glenthorne. Living on the other side of Hall’s Creek her mother rowed her and her siblings downstream for some distance before the children met their aunty to walk 2kms to school, returning in the afternoon.2
During the depression Daphne appreciated the support her Trotter grandparents were able to provide her to continue her education. She graduated from Taree High School and took up a position at the subsidised Bootawa School where she taught 12 children for two years.3 She regularly rode her bike from Bootawa to her parents’ farm in Glenthorne.
In 1941 she completed a two year teacher training course at Armidale Teacher’s College.4 During WW2, those who had experience teaching at subsidised schools were appointed to one teacher schools. Her first appointment in 1943 was to Utungun near Macksville and in 1944 to Old Bar which had just reopened.5 She later moved to Millingarie School on the Wingham-Bulga Road where she taught until 1948.6 Whilst there she met her future husband Cecil (Jim) Cross.
Daphne was transferred in September 1948 to Taree Infants School and married the following month at the Taree Methodist Church. She resigned from teaching in 1951 to have a family. Daphne returned to full-time teaching in 1957 at Chatham Public School until her retirement in 1974. Even after retirement she continued working as a casual teacher for a further ten years. In all she taught for around 30 years.
Daphne taught several generations of children and was much loved by the students, parents and staff. She died just before her 97th birthday at Storm Village in 2016. Daphne is remembered in the Manning as “Mrs Cross”, an outstanding teacher who cared for all her students.
Author: James Cross (son of Daphne)
1 The Wingham Chronicle, 24 April 1945 page 4 Pioneer of Glenthorne; NSW BDM, Birth Index No.48474/1919.
2 Personal letter from Daphne to her son.
3 Manning River Times and Advocate for the Northern Coast Districts of NSW, 13 September 1941, 6.
4 Manning River Times and Advocate for the Northern Coast Districts of NSW, 13 September 1941, 6.
5 Manning River Times and Advocate for the Northern Coast Districts of NSW, 29 January 1944, 2.
6 Manning River Times and Advocate for the Northern Coast Districts of NSW, 8 September 1948, 2.