Historic school photos to feature in centenary exhibition

As part of the union’s centenary celebrations, Federation has undertaken a year-long research and curatorial project to bring you Unity! Strength! Justice! — an exhibition that tells the stories of Federation’s 100 years of activism in support of public education.

Teachers Federation House in Surry Hills is being transformed into a dynamic display, research and event space, where visitors can discover more about the teacher activists who have rallied together for public education over the past century.

The exhibition will feature photographs, historical documents and campaign material from Federation’s rich archival collections, as well as a remarkable series of school photographs, courtesy of exhibition partner NSW State Archives.

It manages and provides access to the State Archives Collection, a unique and irreplaceable part of Australia’s cultural heritage dating back to 1788. A feature of the collection is a series of 7000 school photographs, dating from the 1870s to the mid-1950s.

Exhibition curator Susan Charlton is familiar with the collection from her previous role as creative producer at NSW State Archives and remembers seeing fascinating images of students, teachers and schools from across the state being scanned as part of a huge digitisation project that is underway to make the photographs available online.

Federation thanks NSW State Archives for coming on board as its exhibition partner and contributing 7000 school photographs to a database, which exhibition visitors can search to find historical images of their school, suburb or town.

A selection of these images will also be on display as part of the timeline of Federation’s 100-year history that will form a dramatic entry to the exhibition.

Visitors can also learn more about other school records held by the State Archives, including pupil admission registers; files regarding teacher appointments, transfers and examinations; program and lesson registers; and school plans, sketches and specifications.

Other important collections held by NSW State Archives are convict, immigration and shipping records, items related to the building of Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House, and the written and photographic records of the NSW Aborigines Protection and Welfare boards.

During the exhibition, Federation’s Auditorium will host a program of films and speakers about Federation’s history. For the most up-to-date information, opening times and program information, visit www.nswtf.org.au/exhibition.

Don’t miss this important exhibition that has been 100 years in the making.

Caption: Blackfriars Public Montessori School, 1913. Reproduced courtesy of NSW State Archives. NRS15051 School Photograph Collection