Sunday, 21 June 2009

Pat’s Day out in Cairns

Whilst Paul was out diving, I had my day planned . After a leisurely breakfast at the Coffee Club I made my way to Cairns Museum housed in the old School of Art, a very attractive building. It’s quite

Cairns Museum

small but fascinating, giving an honest account of the history of Cairns from its origins at the time of the Gold rush in the 1870s to the present time. One of the sections was on schooling and I was amused to read an account of the requirements of a teacher in 1879 and 1915:

Rules for Teachers 1879

  1. Teachers each day will fill lamps, and clean chimneys before beginning work.
  2. Each teacher will bring a bucket of water and a scuttle of coal for the day’s session.
  3. Make your pens carefully; you whittle nibs to the individual taste of the children.
  4. Men teachers may take one evening a week for courting purposes or two evenings to attend church regularly.
  5. After ten hours in school, you may spend the remaining time reading the bible or other good books.
  6. Women teachers who marry or engage in unseemly conduct will be dismissed.
  7. Every teacher should lay aside, from each pay, a goodly sum for his declining years so that he will not become a burden on society.
  8. Any teacher who smokes, uses liquor in any form, frequents pool and public halls or gets shaved in a barber’s shop,will give good reason to suspect his worth, intention, integrity and honesty.

Rule for Women Teachers 1915

  1. You will not marry during the term of contract.
  2. You are not to keep the company of men.
  3. You must be home between the hours of 8 pm and 6 am unless attending a school function.
  4. You may not loiter down town in ice cream parlours.
  5. You may not travel beyond the city limits without 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 may not under any circumstance dye your hair.
  10. You must wear at least two petticoats and your dresses must not be shorter than two inches above the ankle.
  11. To keep the school room clean, you must sweep the floor at least once daily, scrub the floor with hot soapy water at least once per week, clean the blackboard once a day and start the fire at 7 am so that the room is warm when the children arrive.

Surprisingly schoolchildren were still using slates in Queensland schools until the 1960s.

There were exhibits on the lives and work of the early inhabitants of Cairns, with examples of the machinery used.

The Aborigine inhabitants were also represented and some insight was gained into their way of life and concerns.

After a quick lunch of fruit I positioned myself outside the hotel to await the “City Sights” bus which duly arrived at the appointed time. We had discovered the existence of this tour from picking up a leaflet at the Tourist Office. It sounded interesting so we phoned the number on the leaflet and booked a place using a credit card. In return we were told the time to expect the bus to arrive at my particular hotel. The bus had a few more people to pick up before the tour proper commenced and we were about twenty in total. David, the driver/tour guide introduced himself to each person as they joined the tour, ascertained their nationality and name and introduced them to the rest of the group as they boarded. He was very friendly, extremely enthusiastic, incredibly knowledgeable and repeatedly went the extra mile to give us an interesting and entertaining afternoon. He had brought along plenty of visual aids in the form of photographs, newspaper cuttings, examples of seed pods and even a cane toad in a glass jar!

The tour took in many interesting places such as St Monica’s Cathedral – a Catholic church which had some stunningly beautiful modern stained glass windows (if you click on the hyperlink above it will show you the whole set)

Stained Glass 1

Stained Glass 2

which portrayed the Creation Story,

Flying Doctor 1

Flying Doctor 2

the Flying Doctor Centre where we had a presentation and video about the founding and work of the RFDS. Rather anachronistically we were given a “Devonshire” cream tea at a little cafe in Edge Hill. Then we were off to the Botanical Gardens where David’s expert knowledge came into its own.

Sausage Tree

a “sausage” tree


Orchids of course

Phillipine Vine

a vine from the Philippine's one of only three plants in the world in this colour

We saw many amazing plant specimens and heard about the healing or poisonous properties of many of them.

Next stop was an Opal Mine where we were told about how opals are formed, the different kinds that exist and were given the opportunity to buy jewellery which ranged from a few dollars to several thousand.

After a photo opportunity at a look-out point where we could see all of Cairns and the sea beyond we made for Palm Cove, a beautiful spot

Palm Cove

where we were able to walk on the beach and jetty before the sun came down and we enjoyed the picturesque sunset before setting off back to Cairns.

Pat with Double Island in the background

Pat with “Double Island” (named so by Captain Cook because another small island is behind this one) in the background which now houses an exclusive hotel used by people like Jennifer Anniston when she wants to get away from the world.

A most enjoyable afternoon lasting from 12.45pm to 6.45pm at a cost of 65 dollars (£32).Apart from visiting the above mentioned places David gave us a running commentary of everything of interest that we passed. I felt particularly fortunate to have a kookaburra pointed out along with wallabies, fruit bats and many other examples of local flora and fauna. David had interesting stories to tell about most of what we saw.

One final picture taken during the afternoon:

Warning Crocodiles

This is obviously giving us a warning of what is to come - “Crocodiles inhabit this area, attacks may cause injury or death” !!!

1 comment:

  1. Excellent and informative blog. Thanks for posting this. It’s informative and enlightening. Keep up the good work.

    Campervan Cairns