Year 7 experiences early settlers’ living
During Term 4, Year 7 humanities classes visited the Claremont Museum to experience a ‘Day in 1863’ as part of their history studies. The excursion allowed students to immerse themselves in a range of learning experiences designed around early settlers’ living.
The Claremont Museum was originally Mrs Herbert’s School, built in 1860. It served the Pensioner Guard Community as a school and place of worship and was the first school between Perth and Fremantle. It remained active until the opening of the State School in Bay View Terrace in 1892.
Joel Ross-Adjie (Year 7) shared his account of the museum visit:
“On Thursday 10 November, the Year 7 humanities class went on an excursion to Claremont Museum as part of learning about our local heritage.
At the museum, there were three activities to take part in. They included washing, schooling and cooking in the 1860s. We started off in the schoolroom and our teacher put on her strict face and went about as if we were back in the 1860s. To say the least, we all had a shared feeling of dread as Mr Parker (our history teacher) was no where near as strict as the one we were facing then – and we were thankful for it.
She taught as basic times tables and grammar on the chalkboard and then told us to use our slates to write what she told us. We realised that being a student in the 1860s was rather difficult as ink pens and slates were painfully difficult to write on.
The second lesson was cooking and our 1860s ‘masterchef’ was a whole lot less scary than our schoolteacher in her act. However, we weren’t too happy when we were told our scones we were making were not going to be soft fluffy ones but would be chewy as we had to hand grind all our flour and then mix them in with raisins. She also told us that in the 1860s, women would do all the inside work but we all agreed that the women needed more muscle to work the old machines than the men in the yard!
Our final activity was olden day washing and after dressing up in odd-looking hessian aprons, we began washing tea towels with 1860s cleaning materials. They were a whole lot more demanding then the washing machines that we use today. We then got a tour through the laundry, which was basically a narrow room filled with tools on the sides.
We all assembled on the grass and took a stroll down to Mrs Herbert’s park (named after the 1860s school teacher) and after briefly learning of the importance of the Swan River, we took a look inside the old boatshed where all the rope makers and dinghies were lying as they were so long ago.
We walked back up the hill and sat in a circle as the scones were handed out. We all felt a sense of dread, however, the expectation of an unpleasant taste was unjustified, as they tasted very nice with a hillock of butter on the top.
Our trip to Claremont Museum was a pleasant and insightful trip and we value the knowledge we gained.”