Speak Gently

Speak Gently was written by G. W. Langford and consists of eight verses. Here are three of them:

Speak gently; it is better far
To rule by love than fear;
Speak gently; let no harsh word mar
The good we may do here.

Speak gently to the young; for they
Will have enough to bear;
Through this life as best they may,
‘Tis full of anxious care.

Speak gently to the aged one,
Grieve not the careworn heart;
Whose sands of life are nearly run,
Let such in peace depart.

Photo: Minnow Creek, Adelaide Hills, South Australia. (c) Marie Trudinger, 2016.



Back in the Day

Rules for Women Teachers 1915.

  1. You will not marry during the term of you contract.
  2.  You are not to keep company with men.
  3.  You must be home between the hours of 8pm and 6am unless attending school functions.
  4.  You may not loiter down town in any ice-cream bars.
  5.  You may not travel beyond the city limits unless you have the permission of the chairman of the board.
  6.  You may not ride in a carriage or automobile with any man unless he is your father or brother.
  7.  You may not smoke cigarettes.
  8.  You may not dress in bright colours.
  9.  You must wear at least two petticoats.
  10.  Your dress must not be any shorter than two inches above the ankle.
  11.  To keep the school neat and clean, you must sweep the floor at least once daily, scrub the floor at least once a week with hot soapy water, clean the boards at least daily, and start the fire at 7am so the school room will be warm by 8am.


Beneath that sweet exterior the Bush school teacher of the 1880s was more than just a pretty face. She had to be able to:

  •  Set a broken leg in a crisis.
  •  Patch the shingles on the school roof.
  •  Cook lunch on an open fire.
  •  Wall paper the residence with newspapers to keep out the winter winds and snakes.
  •  Teach a class of children aged five to fifteen.
  •  Ride a horse side saddle four miles to school and maybe carry a couple of pupils.
  •  Keep the school property free of goats and cattle.

and my favourite

  •  Stay fresh all day from a weekly swim in the dam.  (B-r-r-r)

Those were the days!

Excerpts from The History of the Kuhne Family in Australia.