In 1954, Walter Horsburgh’s mother received an “urgent and highly confidential” letter from her son’s teacher. Inside was her four year old son’s report card. Comments included: “English: Doesn’t worry about it. Has his own”, “Arithmetic: Knowledge of the prices of lollies and ice cream v. good” and “Social Studies: Has a remarkable knowledge of mum’s kitchen, particularly where biscuits and cakes are kept”. With a final remark “The best boy this side of the [drawing of a black stump].”
This delightful report card was written by teacher and headmaster David John Sherwin of Jones Island Public School in 1954.1 Walter was not yet of school age but was allowed to attend school every Friday with his siblings to give his mother a break – hence the whimsy of the report.
David Sherwin’s first teaching appointment was in 1926 at Lost River School, NSW.2 Over his career he worked in several rural schools including Forest Hill, Pulletop and Luddenham.3 He was at Jones Island from 1954 until 1959.4 Sherwin retired to Jamberoo near Kiama where he died in 1968 aged just 62.5
Walter kept his report card as a reminder of the teacher who brought joy to his early school life.
Author: Janine Roberts with the kind permission of Walter Horsburgh.
Back: Mr David Sherwin, Brian Hammond, Allan Horsburgh, Robert Sherwin, Brian Coombe
3rd Row: Raylee Myers, Margaret Black, Frank Speziale, Spencer Hockey, Walter Dennes
2nd Row: Wal Horsburgh, Gary Horsburgh, Bill Black, Eric Fuller, Tom Laurie, Robert Coombe, Dallas Hockey, Ken Norton
Front: Maureen Cavanagh, Zandria Laurie, Joyceline McKay, Gaye Horsburgh, Lynne Myers, Marlene Dennes.
1 Daily Advertiser, 15 January 1954, 3.
2 Ancestry.com.au, NSW Public Service Lists 1858-1960.
3 Ancestry.com.au, NSW Electoral rolls.
4 Lower Manning Museum, Cundletown, ‘A history of Croki and Jones’ Island Public School’, Jones’ Island Public School Committee: 2013.