Do You Remember the Time?

Over fifty years ago at Shannon School, the roll was over four hundred and fifty students. Two of these students were Eleanor Harper (Gran) and Fred Kilmister. Gran said that she got the strap for getting spelling words wrong. Back then the teachers were very strict. Every morning the students would line up in front of the school flag and sing God Save Our King.

Sports day was held every Friday. Swimming sports lasted all day. It was a huge event and everyone really enjoyed the pyjama race. “They only had the big main pool back then. There was a diving board too. Every Friday afternoon, the boys would have to clean the pool.” Fred Kilmister explained with laughter.

Gran mentioned that there were about thirty kids in a class ranging from five to thirteen years of age. School hours went from nine am to three pm.
Fred told us that there was no canteen in the 1940’s but a little later came a Tuck Shop across the road, where they went with a penny to buy a hot milo in winter. In summer the school got milk and students had to drink it even if they thought it was ‘’yuck’’!.
When you came to school your clothes had to be spotless and orderly and you would have a satchel, another word for bag. "You would get to school by horse or foot, even by a bus called the butter box," quoted Mr Kilmister. "If you walked past the shops with a penny you could buy spotted fruit or a bag of broken biscuits," said Aunty Hui.
The toilets were long drops in those days when Mr Kilmister was growing up, but as Gran grew up they became normal flush toilets like today. They didn’t have rugby because there was a big ditch with a drain running through the middle of the field explained Gran. If you had a tricycle and it had been raining you would ride it through the drain with your feet and hands up, gee that would be fun! In the classroom you would write with an ink pen and pencil. Ballpoint pens didn’t come out until after World War ll and they were still a bit wary about using them because they smudged often said Mrs Law. They worked with exercise books, chalk and a blackboard.

We also had class photos answered Fred. There were seven to eight classes and there were no conferences like today but there was one report a year that got posted so you never read it. There was one gigantic park that had normal things but also had old things. They still had water fountains and the years seven and eight students had Manual in Levin.

In form two (year eight) you would go through to Christchurch on the ferry for a day then come back on the ferry at night, explained Gran. For Fred in standard five and six you would go to the parliament and the zoo in Wellington. They only had one trip every year because it was expensive. There were no such thing as camps. There was no Maori, English or Samoan, just one culture. You had to call the teachers by mam and sir, like yes mam, no mam, please mam, no sir, yes sir please sir. It was all about respect in those days. You had normal learning a bit different from today though it was a lot harder. If you were naughty then you would get the strap. Even if you got something wrong it was a good way to learn.
You only spoke when you were spoken to and if you did this you would go a long way because it was respect. First aid was done by the teacher or school nurse. The dental clinic is still there but it is being used for something else.
There was one teacher to every room and no such thing as T/A's (teacher aides). The teacher had a desk and so did the students, old wooden desks with a inkwell fitted in them. The teacher had the strap laid across the front of her desk so everyone could see.

Before we end we’d like to tell you a short story told to us "One day when I went to Shannon School we were playing something like tag and one of my friends decided to play a joke on the my other friend, so before the other boy sat down one of the boys put a pencil facing up and the other boy sat on it and he got rushed to hospital.

That’s what it was like in 1900’s.
A special thanks to everyone who gave us information for this inquiry. THANK YOU WE COULDN’T HAVE DONE IT WITHOUT YOU.

Interviewees: Gran Mr and Mrs Kilmister

Keynote Speakers:
Mr and Mrs Law
Mr Richardson
Mr Woodmass
Mrs Woodmass
Mrs Grace
Aunty Hui
And maybe a few more...

Kete Horowhenua Jack and Rewi Moynihan unfurling the flag,Shannon School, 1901 Credit 'Horowhenua Historical Society, Inc'
Shannon History
Wiki Answers

From Bush and Swamp by Mrs Marjorie Law
Shannon School Jubilee Book

Team effort by Harmony (Year 8) and Casey-Lee (Year 8).