Outback Teacher

Gare, Sally & Marnie, Freda

  1 Reviews

Fresh out of teacher training, Sally Gare's first posting in 1956 is a far cry from city life - Forrest River Mission is more than 3000 kilometres from Perth, in the far north of Western Australia. Developing strong connections with her Aboriginal students and their families, and undaunted by its remoteness and lack of resources, Sally embraces outback life.

Simply written, this is the inspirational memoir of a passionate educator and intrepid adventurer, of good intentions and cultural clashes, and an illuminating snapshot of a different time and place.

Comments from BDS Reviewers

"A truly enjoyable and educational read. I would so like this story to be made into a film."

"A well-written story of a young teacher embracing teaching in an outback posting in an aboriginal school. A very good read."

"Although this book is simply written, the story is inspirational."

"I really enjoyed the book. It was a real snapshot of time and place."

"It's easy to read and you quickly become involved in her life."

"Reading this book was like being on holiday and experiencing wonderful swimming holes, strange animals and deeper cultural understanding in the warmth and comfort of my own home."

"What amazing support she had from her family whose philosophy shaped her character."

"It was good to learn more about the politics and lifestyle affecting the outback Australian aborigines."

"It helps that the author was such a nice person - a lovely young woman who cared deeply for her students."

"Perhaps only a personal background in teaching makes one appreciate how truly innovative the energetic Sally Gare was in her approach to educating her students."



We all enjoyed this memoir. The teachers in the group were full of admiration for how Sally Gare as very young woman used integrated curriculum methods to teach her Aboriginal students in a 1950s mission school. She had remarkable ability to relate to the children she taught and the people in the community, especially in the period she is writing about, a time when Aboriginal people could not even vote. We had an excellent discussion of Aboriginal culture - as much of it as we know about - and 'integration' as opposed to 'assimilation'. The book is not brilliantly written but is very readable.