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Arthur Roberts
A Teacher's Journey
Author: Elizabeth Butel RRP A$7.99 (Ebook)
Publisher: ETT Imprint Pub Date: 2017-01-01
BIC Category: Biography: general ISBN: 9781925416367
BISAC Category2: BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Cultural Heritage


Arthur Roberts was a schoolmaster in country NSW (1861 to 1894) and it was education and the changing educational system that shaped his life. Born in the hop-growing region of Kent, England, his life and prospects were transformed by a wave of educational reform that carried him far from family, class and country. Roberts found himself on the frontier of attempts to establish a national school system in Australia. With a swiftly growing family - one with a severe disability - he was moved from one struggling district to another, fighting insolvency, ignorance, natural disaster and bitter sectarian divides. His letters requesting schoolroom furniture, upgrades to buildings and teaching assistants give some insight into his plight. Photographs and family folklore reveal a taciturn, deeply flawed man while the evidence of writings (as Scone correspondent for The Maitland Mercury) suggests a fiery intelligence and defiant pride. This is amplified by a portrait of Roberts in Havelock Ellis' autobiographical novel, Kanga Creek. The schoolmaster, Mr Williams, is portrayed as an educated and passionate agnostic who uses the pen name Anti-Humbug when writing letters to The Stockwhip, a journal possibly modeled on publications like The Bulletin. This narrative presents these contradictions and hopefully gives the reader some sense of this teacher's journey.

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