Discussions on the history and historiography of Australia's New England

Friday, July 30, 2010

Drummond's life 8 - Return to Education: the Minister 1932-1936

Despite Drummond's heavy involvement in the events leading up to the Nicholas Commission, he was at least as active a Minister for Education during his second term as he had been during the period 1927-1930. In May 1932 Drummond found his portfolio very much as he had left it, for the Depression problems that had dogged the last months of his previous term had prevented his successor, William Davies, from making any significant changes. But while the portfolio was much the same, the period away from office had given Drummond time to reflect and develop new ideas: 'I came back with no less respect for my advisors', Drummond later recalled, 'but with considerably more determination to proceed along lines which I had decided were essential - an overall policy to enable the Education Department to develop.'[1]

Unfortunately Drummond did not spell out what he meant by an overall policy. To some degree we can infer his plans from his later actions, but this approach suffers from a major weakness: decisions made in uncertainty or even chaos can, with the benefit of hindsight, assume patterns that were certainly not in the minds of those making the decisions. What we can say is that, taken as a whole, his education program of the thirties attempted radically to reshape New South Wales education. Drummond's attempts to develop this program, often unsuccessful or at best partially successful, form the dominant theme of his long second term; he would now hold office until 1941.

When Drummond first became Minister in October 1927, the need to spend extra money on education was widely accepted. This, plus the strong backing he received from his Party, allowed him to rapidly expand spending on education. In 1932 the Party backing was still there, but the State's financial problems severely limited his ability to introduce new programs. These problems would ease with time, but by then Drummond's efforts were being increasingly overshadowed by the growing threat of war.

In addition to these constraints, Drummond does not seem to have received the same backing from the Department as he had before.[2] In a way this was inevitable: his determination to alter the system increased the likelihood of clashes between Department and Minister. He was also dealing with a new Permanent Head, for in 1930 S.H. Smith had been replaced by G. Ross Thomas.[3] Ross Thomas and Drummond had known each other for many years, for Ross Thomas had been an inspector first at Inverell and then Armidale. The two men had some common interests and ideas; they were both interested in music and were both Methodist lay preachers, while in 1926 Thomas had been one of those involved in the distribution of Constitutional Changes in Australia.[4] Despite this, the two men do not seem to have been as close as Smith and Drummond. Ross Thomas was prepared to allow his Minister to make the public running, but he was also prepared to ignore or even over-rule Drummond's instructions where he considered them to be against the interests of public education.[5]

In May 1932 this was still in the future. At that time Drummond had to deal with the immediate problems of a state and education system still gripped by depression. However, before discussing this there is one incident that should be mentioned because of the light it throws on Drummond's views.

In March 1932 a delegation organised by the Friends of the Soviet Union left Australia for the Soviet Union.[6] It included one teacher, Beatrice Taylor, whose trip had been sponsored by the Educational Workers' League. Following her return to Australia Taylor delivered a public lecture at Manly on her trip. Three days later she received a formal letter from Ross Thomas asking questions about the meeting: was she the Miss Taylor referred to in the meeting advertisement, and was she correctly described as 'Delegate of the N.S.W. Educational Workers' League to the Soviet Union'? Taylor refused to answer, arguing that the questions infringed her rights as a citizen, and on 23 December 1932 she was suspended from duty, charged under the Public Service Act with misconduct and wilful disobedience to a lawful order.

Following Taylor's suspension, a committee was formed to mount a campaign in her defence. Its efforts, including two major protest meetings, generated considerable publicity. However, in the event the campaign proved unnecessary, for on 31 January a Public Service Board enquiry dismissed the charges on the grounds that a public servant need not obey an order which did not relate to his or her employment or to the capacity in which he or she was employed.

Drummond seems to have pressed for action to be taken against Taylor, and he continued to do so even after the charges were dismissed, although without success. In doing so he was reflecting political attitudes held by many at the time. The fears of communist takeover and of civil disorder created by the Depression were still widely and strongly held. Teachers, too, were placed in a special position as servants of the state and because of their influence over the young. In September 1932 Premier Stevens, referring to another case, told the House: 'I say if he has made disloyal utterances he has to be punished.'[7] Further, the Educational Workers' League which had sponsored Taylor represented the left wing of the Teachers' Federation and, while not a Communist Party front, did reflect a pro-communist perspective.[8] Perhaps not surprisingly, therefore, the Labor Party executive itself refused to cooperate with the Beatrice Taylor Defence Committee.

Having said all this, Drummond's campaign against Beatrice Taylor was not - looked at from the viewpoint of his whole career - an isolated incident. Despite his own strong views, Drummond was generally tolerant of opposing positions, remaining friendly with those such as Mary Gilmore who looked at the world from a very different perspective. Yet where communism was concerned his normal tolerance evaporated. In his manuscript autobiography he tells how - as a young man - he turned over a rock, disturbing two colonies of ants, one red and one black, which immediately began to fight.[9] Returning later, he found that the black ants had been completely destroyed. The story itself is probably apocryphal, but its meaning is clear enough: to Drummond, the society he knew was at war with communism; those who aided the communist cause were therefore aiding the enemy. Holding such views, he could sometimes adopt positions which threatened the very liberties he held so dear.

The Beatrice Taylor case has been dealt with at some length because of what it tells us about Drummond. But in 1932 and 1933 it was only a small incident in relation to the general problems facing the Stevens-Bruxner Government. The State's financial position was desperate: between 1928-29 and 1931-32 state spending on social security had risen threefold, from three to nine million pounds,[10] while taxation revenue had declined sharply. With the Depression at its peak, the Government had to save money and yet supply the relief services necessary to ease the widespread social distress. In the circumstances, a continued emphasis on economy was inevitable. For Drummond's portfolio this meant that education spending had to be tightly controlled. Further, given the growing size of the welfare vote this area too had to be subject to close examination.

In the cuts that followed, Drummond's Child Welfare Department seems to have done reasonably well, for the general range of services provided by the Department remained relatively untouched. Nevertheless, Drummond did have to introduce a range of economy measures, measures which exposed him to Labor Party attack. The first of these, introduced in the second half of 1932, reduced the maximum payment for Section Fourteen grants from ten shillings per week to eight shillings and six pence; these were payments made to parents in poor circumstances for the care of their children.[11] Then in September 1932 Drummond introduced the Destitute Persons Bill, which was intended to give the courts power to compel near relatives of the destitute to contribute to their upkeep. This Bill was designed in part to overcome defects in the Widows' Pensions Act. In 1929 Drummond had introduced amendments to that Act under which 50 per cent of the income of a child living at home, and 25 per cent of the income of a child living away from home, were to be counted as part of the widow's income. However, no provision was made in the legislation to compel the children to support their mother, so that the net effect of the amendment was to reduce the pension without necessarily substituting any alternative income.

The Labor opposition attacked the measures savagely. 'Although the Minister for Education is a lay preacher, who goes into the pulpit and advises the people to subscribe to the doctrines of Christ, it is strange that he is usually given charge of bills that tend to perpetuate the principle of the Crucifixion', accused M.A. Davidson, the Member for Cobar.[12] 'Generally the Minister is put in charge of a bill that has for its purpose imposition of hardships upon the people and the watering down of social legislation passed by previous Governments, especially Labor Governments'.

There was some substance to Davidson's charge that Drummond was often responsible for bills that watered-down social legislation. The conjunction of Depression and Drummond's ministerial responsibilities in the social welfare area made this inevitable. But there was also a strong dash of political hypocrisy in the Labor attacks. The principle that near relatives should assist the destitute was accepted by the Party, and indeed the principle of reducing widows' pensions by the earnings of their children had been established by the original Lang Act. When Drummond extended the principle in 1929, Lang had pointed out that there was no machinery to give effect to the provision; Drummond had then promised to have the necessary amendment inserted in the Bill when it was before the Legislative Council, but had been unable to do so for legal reasons.

Drummond defended his position strongly. He had reduced the maximum Section Fourteen payment, he told the House, but in doing so had simply taken the original value of the grant following its increase to ten shillings in 1925 and had then adjusted it down by movements in the price level. The real value of the grant was thus the same as it had been in 1925, and it would be kept at that level in future, rising or falling with movements in the price level. In doing this, Drummond had probably established the first indexed social service benefit in Australia. On the Destitute Persons Bill, he pointed out that the legislation was in line with that requested by the Leader of the Opposition, before going on to outline his attitude towards social services. No honourable member, he told the House, would argue that relief should not be given to those in unfortunate circumstances because of the Depression. However, relief tended to push on relief, so that as assistance was given more was demanded.

The unfortunate aspect is that there is growing up in the community the idea that the State should support everybody in distress. I do not subscribe to that theory. I subscribe to the theory that where the kith and kin are well able to contribute towards the relief of their destitute near relatives they ought to do so. When we get down to bedrock, there is a tendency towards the Communist theory that a man can desert his wife and children and leave them to the state, or that a man can desert his wife in her old age and let the state maintain her. I suggest that the time has arrived when legislation should be introduced to check this tendency...[13]

While these views were not inconsistent with those he had expressed earlier, the words do suggest that Drummond's attitude towards welfare had hardened.

Outside the welfare area, during the second half of 1932 Drummond was involved in two other battles over his portfolio, one a victory and the other a loss. Immediately upon his return to the Ministry, Drummond faced pressures to reintroduce fees in high schools.[14] Such pressures were not limited just to New South Wales: in Tasmania fees were introduced, while in Victoria existing fees were raised. The issue created considerable dissension within Cabinet, and at one point there were reports that the Budget Committee of Cabinet had decided to introduce fees in primary and secondary schools. In November Drummond made it clear that he was reluctant to introduce fees, but that the move might be forced upon him. In the end he was able to hold the line. It was a fortunate decision: in Victoria school fees combined with other cuts to set secondary education back two decades.

Drummond had less success on the second issue, the retention of married women teachers in the service.[15] This issue arose as a consequence of the combination of Depression, which reduced teacher resignations below normal, and a fall in pupil numbers associated with a fall in the birth rate during the twenties. Taken together, these resulted in higher than expected teacher numbers and lower than expected teacher demand, which in turn meant that trainee teachers coming out of the two colleges could not be placed in service; at the beginning of 1932 there were 565 such teachers, with a further 540 becoming available a year later.

Prior to the defeat of the Bavin-Buttenshaw Government, Drummond had agreed to dismiss 200 married women who were temporary teachers, but had then delayed the move until the position had been re-examined. His successor, William Davies, returned to the issue. He proposed that 600 women teachers be dismissed, while the law should be amended to force women to resign upon marriage. Davies' stand reflected the widely held community views that a woman's place was in the home and that, particularly in times of Depression, she should not take a job when her husband was working. It was also consistent with the position in other states. Davies' proposals met stiff opposition from Teachers' and Women's Organisations, and no action had been taken by the time the Lang Government was dismissed.

Drummond had opposed Davies' stand, and was immediately congratulated by Jessie Street, the president of the United Association of Women.[16] This placed Drummond in a difficult position, for his objection to the proposal was based on his belief that existing women teachers had been given statutory rights which should not be easily removed; like Davies, he accepted the traditional view of the role of women in marriage. He therefore wrote back to try to clarify his position. 'I am more concerned with the maintenance of the principle that rights statutorily conferred should not be abrogated by any administrative or legislative act rather than upon that aspect which would appeal to your members', he told her. He went on:

I have in mind the fact that there are thousands of women teachers who have voluntarily resigned the possibility of having a home of their own that they might devote themselves more assiduously and exclusively to their chosen profession. It is therefore a debatable question as to whether those ladies who insist upon having it both ways - that is by being married and retaining their profession - are really assisting the cause of womanhood in general, since they would appear to be blocking the reasonable aspirations of their more self-sacrificing sisters, who would be prepared to take it one way and devote their lives to the noble work of teaching.

This was plain speaking with a vengeance, for his words were certainly unlikely to gain him any support from Street's Association.

Upon his return to office Drummond was forced to take up the issue again. In September 1932 he introduced legislation allowing for the dismissal of married women from the teaching service, and also forcing the resignations of women upon marriage. The measure was needed, he suggested, to allow the Department to employ the student-teachers still waiting to start their teaching careers. Despite this justification, and despite his claim that the Bill did recognise the statutory rights of the individuals affected, he was obviously unhappy at the move, an unhappiness recognised by some within the opposition. The member for Newtown, Frank Burke, told the House that he knew Drummond well: he had been Chairman of the Public Works Committee while Drummond was a member; 'I believe that his [Drummond's] heart is not in this measure, and that if he were permitted to do so he would withdraw it'.[17] The Bill passed, but the exempt categories Drummond introduced into it significantly reduced its impact; during 1932 and 1933 only some 220 teachers were retrenched, instead of the 600 that had been forecast.



While all areas of Drummond's portfolio suffered from the Depression, the Child Welfare Department probably suffered most because of the extra demands placed upon it.[18] The transfer of the Charitable Relief Section to the Department in May 1929, and then of responsibility for Widows' Pensions in September of that year, had greatly increased the Department's work load. This load increased further as the Depression worsened. In addition, the Department faced increasing problems with the apprenticeship arrangements for its older wards. As indicated previously, these were not apprenticeships in the trade sense; the Wards were not indentured nor did they learn a trade. Instead, just as had been done with Drummond thirty years before, they were placed with families for whom they worked and who were required to pay them a small wage. During the Depression these arrangements broke down: many families could no longer afford to support the apprentices and returned them to the state, leading to serious overcrowding in child welfare depots.

The Department's administration began to collapse under the strain; 'We were overwhelmed entirely', the Department's chief clerk was later to tell the McCulloch Royal Commission.[19] In 1932, as part of a reorganisation of charitable services, the Government decided that responsibility for Widows' Pensions and the Charitable Relief Section should be transferred to the Director of Public Relief. This eased the strain, but by then the Department was in deep trouble. The problems were initially concealed. Although nominally a branch of the Education Department, the Child Welfare Department was effectively autonomous, reporting direct to Drummond. This meant that Drummond was dependent upon the Department, and particularly upon its Secretary, Alex Thompson, for reports on the developing difficulties. Unfortunately Thompson was unaware of the full extent of his Department's problems, so that Drummond too had limited knowledge of them. However, in 1933 an incident occurred which brought them forcibly to Drummond's attention.

In November the Truth newspaper alleged that boys at Yanco had been subjected to abuse and ill-treatment.[20] On 7 December Davidson, the Labor member for Cobar, asked Drummond a question without notice on the allegations. Later that same day Daniel Clyne, the Labor member for King, made a brief speech on the affair during the adjournment debate. Both the question and subsequent speech were direct and to the point, and the political point-scoring that usually dominated welfare debates was notably absent. It was the type of issue that could unite all members, regardless of party.

Drummond's responses showed that he took the allegations very seriously indeed. He explained to the House that upon his arrival in Sydney the previous Tuesday (the 5th) his attention had been drawn to the Truth story. He was also informed that Alex Thompson had deemed the charges sufficiently serious to go to Yanco at once to carry out a preliminary investigation into the matter: in the meantime, the honourable member for Murrumbidgee (R.H. Hankinson) had also personally inquired into the matter and had placed a report before Drummond.

Drummond went on to explain that he had decided not to make any public statement until he had received Thompson's report. His reluctance to do so is understandable. Up to that point he had no reason to believe that his Yanco experiment was other than a success. Further, his close involvement with the place meant that he knew the officer-in-charge, Major A.W. Parsonage, personally, and knew too that he had a fine record within the Department. In the circumstances he was probably hoping that the Truth story would turn out to be just another fabrication: he knew from his own bitter experience that cruelty and harsh treatment could survive unrecognised for long periods.

Drummond went on to tell the House that he had read Thompson's report the previous night: 'The charges were a very great shock to me, but they would appear to have some foundation in fact'.[21] After discussing the problem with Thompson and Ross Thomas, he had asked the Public Service Board to hold an independent inquiry and had taken steps to have certain officers suspended pending that inquiry.

I felt that unless this [the independent inquiry] is done, and unless the facts are proved or disproved, an injustice may be done to the officer in charge of the farm, who has a fine record of service in the department. If the allegations are proved to be true appropriate action will be taken.[22]

Drummond also took the opportunity to defend the young people in state institutions. Truth, he suggested, had

so referred to the inmates of these institutions that it has created the impression that practically every boy or girl in them is something in the nature of an undesirable. I say, without prejudice and without reference to the existing case, that it is wholly wrong to misrepresent the position. Many of these boys have passed through and we have placed them suitably and satisfactorily, and they are doing well. Most of those who come to us in unhappy circumstances, make good.[23]

Drummond's quick action defused the immediate political situation. But his lingering hopes that an inquiry would exonerate those involved were soon destroyed. The stipendiary magistrate selected to carry out the investigation, John Edward McCulloch, was earnest, hardworking and very thorough. By the time the affair was completed, his inquiries had destroyed the careers of at least two men, forced a complete reshaping of child welfare administration, and caused Drummond much heartbreak.

McCulloch completed his initial investigation on 19 March 1934.[24] He reported that excessive and improper punishment had been administered to inmates and that boys had been used to punish other boys. However, that first report did go some way towards exonerating those involved. The charges against Superintendent Parsonage had been 'proven within the meaning of the Act', Drummond told the House on 26 April.[25] But McCulloch had also found they were grossly exaggerated and that the disciplinary practices involved had received the consent and concurrence of a previous secretary for child welfare. The Public Service Board had therefore decided that Parsonage should be transferred to head office but that this should be done 'without loss of salary excepting that which he had incurred for six weeks during his suspension'.[26]

McCulloch may have concluded that the situation at Yanco was not as bad as reported, but his report still made it clear that abuses had occurred. On 5 April Drummond issued a direction to 'Superintendents of institutions, directing that corporal punishment was only to be inflicted after thorough investigation of all the facts by the Superintendent, under his orders, and in his presence.'[27] Four days later McCulloch was given a commission to conduct a full inquiry into the operations of the Child Welfare Department. His terms of reference were wide ranging, allowing him to inquire into all aspects of the Department's work and also charging him with the task of preparing new child welfare legislation.[28]

McCulloch began his hearings on 16 April 1934, reporting on 5 September. His basic conclusion was favourable:

The facilities provided by the State of New South Wales to meet the claims and the needs of dependent, destitute, defective and delinquent children will not be disparaged by comparison with those made available in other countries: they are superior to those existing in other Australian States and in many countries of the world - they are as beneficent as any that operate in the great majority of cases - they are excelled in but a few instances and then only in individual aspects.[29]

But having said this, McCulloch went on to make a devasting attack on the deficiencies of the system.

Not unexpectedly, he paid particular attention to the disciplinary procedures used inside child welfare institutions. In doing so, he revealed not only that the position at Yanco was far worse than he had first thought, but that it was a long-running problem. Even then, McCulloch was not completely satisfied that he had got to the bottom of the matter: 'It is accepted among legal authorities that a general inquiry is not likely to discover individual acts of improper punishment.'[30] However, he was able to define some of the reasons why problems had arisen. The Department's Secretary, Alex Thompson, liked to leave superintendents free to develop their own systems in consultation with head office. This was fine in theory, but in practice there was no check on the system. The powers of the superintendents were poorly defined, while no formal provisions existed to define acceptable punishment practices. Equally importantly, institutions were not subject to any form of inspection.

Having discussed punishment problems, McCulloch turned to examine other problems faced by the Department. There was no classification system within institutions other than one based on a simple age division. This was a particular problem for the boys, for it means (as in the case of wards sent to Yanco) that the innocent were forced to associate with those who verged on the hardened criminal. McCulloch also found that there were no formal after-care system, not were any records kept which would allow the Department to assess the results of its care. This was the case even at Yanco, where Drummond had told the Department in March 1930 that it was essential that a system of records be immediately prepared to allow them to determine 'the approximate success or otherwise of the method of training adopted'.[31]

In addition to these problems, McCulloch found that the Department suffered from a number of administrative weaknesses, perhaps best typified by the case of Garth, the Department's Home for children affected by venereal disease. Opening in 1926, Garth had been unsatisfactory from the very beginning. Expensive to maintain, a long way from proper medical services, and lacking in facilities, it was also poorly run. Children who had not been infected or were cured remained in the Home for long periods alongside infected children, often sharing common linen and even bath water. The Department's head office had been aware of these problems for some years, but had taken no action. Finally, in November 1933, Dr. Marie Hamilton from the Public Health Department visited Garth. She prepared an extremely critical report and passed it to the Health Minister who in turn passed it to Drummond. He immediately began to question his Department, questions which finally resulted in the closure of Garth in June 1934.

In summary then, despite McCulloch's conclusion that the child welfare system was basically sound, his report was a devastating expose of its weaknesses. These, he suggested, were due to ineffective organisation, administration and control; to inexperienced and untrained personnel; to a lack of candidates who were competent, qualified and suitable for child welfare work; and to the use of unsuitable buildings. McCulloch reserved some of his most trenchant criticism for the Department Head, Alex Thompson. In McCulloch's view, the Department's problems were due in large part to Thompson's poor management: he 'has been promoted to a position calling for administrative capacity beyond his experience and training, and demanding a knowledge of legal principles to which he makes no claim, resulting in ineffective direction and control'.[32]

This was a tragic conclusion for Thompson. His evidence to McCulloch reveals him as a humane man who genuinely cared for the children under his control. He had also been an extremely good Superintendent at Parramatta. But as a Department Head he had been forced to assume increasingly difficult administrative responsibilities that were simply beyond his capacity. When asked why he had failed to issue new regulations under the Child Welfare Act and instead had relied on the regulations issued under the old Acts that had been repealed in 1923, he replied, with feeling, that 'I have had 5 of the worst years...'[33]

In contrast to Thompson, Drummond came out of the inquiry well. Despite Yanco's problems, McCulloch praised the concept.

The Riverina Welfare Farm for Boys at Yanco is the only institution which merits the name of "Farm Home" - it promises to justify the action of the then Minister for Education [Drummond] in accepting the transfer of the area, to provide an excellent opportunity for the training of boys suitable for rural employment, and materially to decrease the annual costs of its administration and maintenance.[34]

McCulloch also concluded that the mixing of state wards with juvenile offenders would not have occurred had Drummond's proposal to acquire the Berry Experimental Farm from the Department of Agriculture, initiated in 1929, 'been vigorously prosecuted by the Secretary of the Child Welfare Department.'[35]

While McCulloch was carrying out his inquiry there were two further scandals that drove home the lesson - if that was needed - that there was something seriously wrong with the child welfare system. The first involved a state ward named Page, who had been apprenticed to dairy farmers on the North Coast and then mis-used as an unpaid labourer.[36] The second involved the revelation that a boy at Gosford had recently been flogged. Upon inquiry, Drummond found that the punishment had comprised six strokes on the buttocks and one meal of bread and water, but that it had been carried out prior to circulation to institutions of his instructions banning flogging. 'I have dealt with the flogging issue', he told the House. 'Hon. members can accept my assurance that I consider bread-and-water punishment also belongs to the dark ages.'[37]

In addition to banning flogging, Drummond took certain other corrective steps in the period leading up to McCulloch's final report.[38] Parsonage was dismissed from the Public Service, his deputy was downgraded to the lowest rank in the Service, and disciplinary measures were taken against other officers at Yanco. The Berry Experimental Farm was finally acquired and turned into a training farm and School of Husbandry; in May 1934 the first batch of state wards was transferred from Yanco to Berry.[39] With receipt of McCulloch's report in October, Drummond took further steps. Thompson was removed and replaced by C.T. Wood, while an official visitor was selected on the advice of the Public Service Board. 'It will be his duty to visit very institution, with the exception of two or three, at least once in six weeks', Drummond told the House.[40] With Wood's appointment, there were formal moves to re-organise the Department.

One of McCulloch's terms of reference had required him to draw up new child welfare legislation. On 20 December 1934, after the McCulloch draft had been examined and slightly modified by the Crown Law Department and Minister for Justice, Drummond introduced the Bill into the Assembly.[41] In his first reading speech he summarised the Yanco affair and explained the steps that had been taken. He also explained that it would be some time before the second reading speech, but that he had ordered the Bill printed and had introduced it in order to give members plenty of time to consider it.

During his speech Drummond referred to a related but different issue, one that is worth mentioning against the background of the debate on the dismissal of married women teachers. The position of superintendent at Parramatta had fallen vacant. 'The women's organisations have put it to me that a woman superintendent should be appointed to fill the vacancy', he told the Assembly, 'and I feel that if we can find a woman with the right qualifications she should be given a trial.'[42] He went on:

It has been suggested by some person that a woman could not effectively control such children, but... in New Zealand... I found a woman running a woman's Borstal institution at Wellington, where there were women up to 23 years of age, very satisfactorily. I think that we could find a woman with the necessary qualifications to carry out that work here, but I admit that her qualifications would have to be very high indeed.

Thus Drummond, while sharing many of the attitudes of his generation was - as in the case of women teachers - prepared to accept that women had a role to play in the professional work force.

Drummond had promised the members that they would have plenty of time to consider the new Child Welfare Bill and they did indeed, for the Parliament recessed for the elections - to be held in May 1935 - without further debate. Following the elections, Drummond reported to Cabinet on the Bill on 24 July,[43] and then on 16 September he brought revised legislation before Cabinet.[44] He explained that the 1923 Act 'was badly drafted and defective in may respects'.[45] The new Bill, which was based on that drafted by McCulloch, incorporated a number of new elements. It restricted and defined the punishments that could be inflicted on inmates in institutions. It also limited the Department's powers to send innocent children or wards of the state to disciplinary institutions. Both these elements were intended to counter the abuses revealed by McCulloch's inquiries. The draft Bill also aimed to give the Minister of Justice power, with consent of the Minister for Education, to transfer inmates from prison to welfare institutions. This provision - which was a modified version of the proposals Drummond had put forward in 1929 - was designed to give certain individuals a chance to make good and escape the stigma of gaol. Conversely, the Bill contained a provision allowing the transfer under specified conditions of inmates to other institutions or gaols.

In Drummond's view this was a key provision. In 1923, when the age of admission and retention in Child Welfare disciplinary institutions had been raised to 18, no provision was made for restraining difficult inmates in the 16 to 18 group, and no machinery was provided for their transfer to the prison farm or reformatories. This failure, Drummond suggested, was responsible for a great deal of the brutality which subsequently developed. In the absence of alternatives, brutal treatment came to be regarded as the only way to suppress the unruly.

Two days after the Cabinet meeting (on 18 September) Drummond introduced the revised Bill into the Assembly.[46] It was the end of the first sitting week following the elections, and the bipartisan approach that had marked previous debates had disappeared. John Baddeley (Cessnock), the Opposition's deputy leader, still stinging from an exchange with Drummond earlier that day,[47] described the previous Bill as an abominable one. 'It was neither a reasonable nor a decent measure', he told the Assembly. 'It could only have emanated from a man with a mind like the Minister or perhaps from a man with a mind like that of the Director of Education.'[48] Baddeley's attacks were based in part on political spite, but they (and the other Labor comments) also reflected the complexity of this and the previous legislation. This led to confusion as well as genuine disputes of principle: some Labor attacks, for example, were based on the belief that the references in the legislation to the Director referred to the Head of the Education Department, whereas in fact this was the new title proposed for the Head of the Child Welfare Department.

In the end the Bill was withdrawn, revised and resubmitted the following year.[49] Again the legislation was found to be defective and withdrawn. Finally, on 28 June 1938, Drummond took revised legislation back to Cabinet.[50] He explained to Cabinet that since 1936 the Bill had been carefully re-examined by officers of the Justice and Child Welfare Departments and by magistrates of the Children's Courts. The new legislation had been re-drafted to remove certain legal weaknesses while some of the provisions had been modified; in particular, certain discretionary powers had been transferred back to the Minister from the Director while the punishment provisions had been further tightened. Drummond still seemed to have had some reservations; the 'Bill now represents a fairly modern and complete code of Child Welfare law and is now ready for presentation to Parliament.'[51]

Cabinet approved the measure, but Drummond was unable immediately to get sufficient time allocated in the Government's legislative program,[52] and the Bill was not presented until the following year. This time it passed, but not without alarms. In the discussions leading up to the presentation of the Bill, Drummond's own party had not been unanimously in favour of the legislation, while Cabinet as a whole was not enthusiastic. One particular battle, and one that Drummond lost, concerned the death penalty. Drummond had wanted to raise the age for the death penalty to twenty-one years. Cabinet refused to accept this, but after a long battle it and the Country Party accepted that if the crime was committed before a person's eighteenth birthday then the death penalty would not be applied.

When the legislation was finally introduced, Lang attacked the death penalty provision, suggesting that it should be twenty-one. The attacks threatened to break the Government Parties' fragile consensus on the issue, and Drummond was forced to see Lang informally, to tell him that they could lose the whole Bill. Lang, after a moment's thought, told Drummond that he had to put the issue on behalf of the party but that if Drummond moved the closure after the next speaker he would not oppose it. Drummond did so, and the Bill passed. It was the type of gesture that left Drummond, who had after all been the victim of one of Lang's scurrilous attacks, with respect for the man.

While new legislation was delayed, a number of reforms were progressively introduced into the child welfare system during the second half of the thirties, reforms which did much to overcome the deficiencies revealed by McCulloch.[53] In 1935 the Department reintroduced honorary visitors to visit wards, and introduced guidance testing. In 1936 the Department began to subsidise the earnings of apprentices, while a child guidance clinic was established as part of the School Medical Service. In the Department's 1937 report, Drummond could record much progress: plans for the recruitment of cadets for special training in child welfare were almost complete, while tutorial classes had been established for all other groups of officers; emphasis was being placed on aftercare, vocational guidance and the provision of employment. The concept of preventative work had also appeared:

Splendid work is being done by Children's Playgrounds, Children's Libraries, Boys' Brigades, Kindergartens, Day Nurseries, Boys' and Girls' Clubs and kindred activities in the congested areas.[54]

Whatever the delays in implementing reforms, and whatever the imperfections of Drummond's 1939 Child Welfare Act, the changes during the thirties did mark a major step forward. The Act in particular laid down the basic framework for the next forty years. Notably, when during the seventies the New South Wales Government came to review Drummond's legislation, the process was to prove just as prolonged and difficult as it had over thirty years before.[55]


While the child welfare system occupied much of Drummond's attention, particularly in 1934, this was not his only concern in the years immediately after June 1932. As we saw in Chapter seven, the Depression caused many to question the existing social and government system. The ideas that developed affected all parts of Drummond's portfolio. In this section we look at their impact on secondary education.[56]

In the years prior to the Depression, the secondary school system had come under attack on a number of grounds. For many people, first emphasis had to be placed on primary schooling, since this was the base for the whole system. Reflecting this view, Bavin had re-affirmed in September 1927 that the first obligation of the Nationalists would be the provision of suitable and sufficient accommodation for primary scholars.[57] There were others, such as the Catholic Freeman's Journal, which still opposed free high schools.[58] In the view of Freeman's Journal, what was needed was 'a return to the old-fashioned but sane view that only a small percentage of the population can make a living with its brains and that this percentage can get ahead from primary schooling to its legitimate goal without pyramiding the state education system.'[59] Drummond did not share this elitist view, but he did believe (with many others) that the academic bias within a secondary course oriented to university matriculation was not in the interests of many students.[60] Partially for this reason, he had begun that reorganisation of secondary education discussed in Chapter five.

During the Depression, complaints about the secondary education system, and particularly about the role played by academic examinations, increased. Drummond, too, was still dissatisfied, and in 1933 he renewed his efforts to change the system.[61] This time the trigger was provided by R.S. Wallace, the Vice Chancellor of Sydney University. Born in Scotland in 1882, Wallace shared with Drummond a deep love of Scotland and also the Scottish belief in the virtues of education. In January 1941, after Wallace received a knighthood, he wrote to Drummond: 'When I think of the faith which the people in rural Scotland had in the education process and the sacrifices they made for their children I feel that my contribution does not amount to much.' Drawn together by common interests, the two men became friends. It was an important friendship for Drummond, for Wallace would later play an important role in the establishment of another of Drummond's dreams, a country university.

In the middle of 1933 Wallace saw Drummond to tell him that he, Wallace, was going to have to attack the Minister publicly unless something was done about the examination system.

And I said to him, 'Look here - that's the best news I've heard for a long while. Now this is Thursday. You come out in the Herald about it - make a slashing attack on me and on the Department and set out your views and I will immediately announce to the paper that 'I will take up your challenge... I will see that there is appointed a representative secondary committee'.[62]

Following this exchange Drummond did appoint a Committee to inquire into the system of examinations and secondary school courses. In doing so, he displayed - as Cooke and later Mitchell pointed out[63] - what became a characteristic technique, the use of the public inquiry. Such inquiries helped generate public interest, while providing sources of advice external to the Education Department. He also displayed another technique, the use of external events (in this case Wallace's approach) to try to achieve his objectives.

It was a large committee, with thirty-two members representing the Department (including the technical branch), teachers' colleges, the Teacher's Federation, Catholic and non-Catholic private schools, Chambers of Commerce, primary producers, Junior Farmers' Clubs, and Women's and professional organisations.[64] It was also given wide ranging terms of reference, for it was required to inquire into the system of examinations, the suitability of the courses upon which they were based for pupils who had completed the primary school course, the university entrance requirement, and the needs of the country in technical, trade, commercial, agricultural, domestic and professional education.

The Committee met for the first time on 26 July 1933, and organised itself into seven sub-committees to concentrate on specific topics. At the opening session Drummond asked them to decide whether the system was 'entirely in conformity with the demands of the modern world.'[65] He also told them that he was appalled to find that the modern system was not giving geography or history its place in the curriculum. He could not conceive any person being educated who did not know the history of his country or other countries and did not know the geography of the world in which that history was being made.[66] This emphasis on history and geography as a means of creating understanding that had made Drummond a strong supporter of the League of Nations, but it also reflected his personal interest in the subjects; in recognition of his support, the Royal Australian Historical Society later made him an honorary fellow.

The Committee's formation led to increased debate on education.[67] The Sydney Morning Herald, which had congratulated Drummond on his decision to appoint the Committee,[68] felt that the 'tendency to introduce decorative embellishments to school courses had been carried to excess', and asked the Committee to consider a better orientation towards primary and secondary industry where most employment was to be found. It was refreshing, the paper said, to hear 'a minister admit that his department might fall short of perfection'.[69] Francis Anderson and L.C. Robson (headmaster of Shore and a member of the Committee) both wrote of the need for liberalisation,[70] while Bishop Moyes suggested that the examination system was 'crushing individuality'.[71] In December Drummond asked the teachers at the Federation's annual conference to recognise alternatives for children without the capacity for a classical course.[72]

The Committee submitted its report to Drummond towards the end of 1933, but it was not published until the middle of 1934, and even then two sub-committee reports were not released; these, Drummond suggested, were confidential minority reports to the Committee.[73] The delay exposed Drummond to criticism: R.S. Carslaw, the Professor of Mathematics at Sydney University and a member of the Committee, publicly complained of the delay in March 1934,[74] and then again the following month, refusing to accept the Department's explanation that overseas developments were being studied.[75] With the publication of the Report there was further criticism.

The Report itself was critical of the existing system. It suggested the main objection to the existing arrangement and planning for school studies was that they were in general designed for a five-year course, whereas few pupils completed that course. Thus of the children who began post-primary education, only 32 per cent stayed until third year. Further, of those enroled in state secondary schools (as opposed to the super primary schools) only 68 per cent completed third year while only 32 per cent stayed to the fifth year; of these, only a small percentage proceeded to matriculation. The Report suggested that a test at the end of the third year (the Intermediate Certificate) would need to be maintained for the present for a great number of pupils. However, it then went on to quote the findings of two sub-committees which suggested that a different approach should be followed for those pursuing the academic stream:

With regard to the students who follow a full secondary course of five years or more, both the matriculation Sub-Committee and the General Sub-Committee recommend that the first examination should be taken at the end of the fourth year and should be known as the School Certificate Examination, and that at the end of the fifty year another examination should be taken which should be known as the Higher Certificate Examination.[76]

This system, the sub-committees suggested, offered three advantages: it would enable pupils of secondary schools to complete a general course of study without interruption; the fourth year was the appropriate year for the conclusion of a general secondary course; and it was educationally sound that there should be provision for moderate specialisation in the final stage of secondary studies.

The Report also recommended certain changes in the curriculum. In particular, it considered that the specialised branches of science such as physics or chemistry should be replaced by general science in the early years of post primary and secondary education and that it should be made compulsory for all pupils. On organisation matters, the Committee recommended that the Board of Examiners should be replaced by a more representative body able 'to deal with Secondary Education in all its aspects'.[77] Established in 1912, the Board of Examiners - consisting of four professors from Sydney University and four officers from the Department under the chairmanship of the Direction of Education - conducted the Leaving Certificate Examinations. Since the Leaving Certificate had come to dominate the secondary education system, this made the Board of Examiners the dominant influence in the determination of the curriculum.

While the Report did recommend changes, its overall tone was cautious. 'The recommendations contained in the reports of the Sub-Committee', it said, 'are of such a character that, if it should prove desirable, it would not be possible to put them into practice at once.'[78] It therefore recommended that they be forwarded to the proposed new controlling body for secondary education for further consideration. The overall caution was probably due in part to the State's financial position. But it also reflected differences within the Committee, differences which the members had been unable to resolve.

Following the report, both Drummond and the Committee came under attack. 'It would appear the mountain was in labour and brought forth a mouse', Peter Board, the former Director of Education, wrote to Alexander Mackie even before the report was released. 'The mouse may be a well-bred one, but it is only a mouse'.[79] Carslaw was less restrained. The Report's conclusion that the present time was inopportune for making any drastic changes did not, he suggested, represent the views of the great majority of the general committee. He added that Drummond, in stating the Leaving and Intermediate examination system 'had not worked badly during the 21 years past', was suppressing the fact that two significant sub-committees had been strongly in favour of change.[80] In private Carslaw was less restrained still: 'it is a grotesque thing to make these educational questions matter for "Ministerial" or other parties', he wrote to Mackie in June 1935.[81] This last was a view Drummond would certainly not have accepted: he believed that a centralised education system such as that in New South Wales could become rigid and remote from changing community needs; his job as Minister was to make the system more responsive, to introduce new ideas and directions.[82]

In the face of these attacks, Drummond was forced into a defence of the Report and of the existing system.[83] The Committee's preference for a gradual approach was, he suggested, being subjected to 'a great deal of ill-informed criticism'. The present system of examinations had a definite place in the eyes of the business community 'as an indication of a certain standard of intelligence and application on the part of the holder'. Further, when critics said that every boy who left primary school was forced into a narrow matriculation course, they forgot the Department's technical and domestic classes. The new proposals were experimental, and he would be loath to authorise a re-organisation that might be a waste of public money; 'if the Department is on trial critics should put their methods and results on trial also', he stated.

The contrast between the response and Drummond's previous enthusiasm for change is marked, but he probably had sound practical reasons for adopting the position he did. His Department was probably not in favour of the more radical proposals; in December 1934, for example, Ross Thomas defended examinations on the grounds that they developed discrimination, expression, judgement and 'a definite ability to see purpose in things.'[84] The Roman Catholic Church system, too, had problems with the Report: the 'Church has greatly extended its educational operations... and any violent change would certainly embarrass its organisation', Drummond told the Assembly in May 1926.[85] In addition, rural option had long placed great weight upon primary as compared to secondary education.

At the 1911 FSA Conference, the Association's Executive had attacked Labor proposals for the abolition of high school and university fees on the ground that high schools and universities were rich men's schools; all that was needed in this area was a liberal system of bursaries.[86] Such views were still widely held. In December 1933 Ben Wade, a former carpenter and now Country Party member for Barwon whose blunt attacks on workers' compensation and accountants could rouse the ALP and UAP benches to equal fury, suggested that the problem would be solved if the state confined itself to primary education.[87] Ern Sommerlad, recently appointed an MLC, shared the traditional country view. A member of Mackie's sub-committee, he had dissented from its findings, claiming that it 'had not realised that it is economic necessity that will determine the length of the school life of the average child rather than the arbitrary dictum of an academic authority.'[88] He attacked the 'top-heaviness' of the secondary system, insisting that primary education must remain the dominant concern of governments for many years to come.

Drummond's own views were rather different. As we have seen, he had already tried to extend secondary education and also modify the approach followed within schools. In addition, he had come to believe that many students would benefit from a fourth year at school: in his view, that 'was the year in which the character of the student was formed, the student moved away from pure memory action with not so much dependence on reasoning power into a period where... the mind became more mature and enquiring'.[89] Students completing the fourth year could either enter administration or business and further their studies in that way, or they could go on to matriculation. In that event the provision of a fifth or, if necessary, a sixth year of secondary schooling would allow them to concentrate on pre-entry studies and give them additional maturity when they entered the university.

Not surprisingly, given these views, Drummond was still in favour of reform, but the opposing ideas held by his friends and colleagues meant that he had to move slowly. And this his critics could not accept. There may have been another factor as well. While Drummond and those who criticised him, such as Alexander Mackie, held many common ideas, there seems to have been one important difference. On the surface at least, Mackie's approach was essentially elitist: his attacks on S.H. Smith's surprise inspection of Sydney Teacher's College had been based (by implication) in part upon the grounds that Smith lacked the necessary formal qualifications. Mackie's emphasis on academic rather than vocational training within Sydney Teacher's College and his later attacks on the removal of the Qualifying Certificate - which made it easier to enter secondary schools - on the grounds that it would lower the standard of secondary education,[90] all suggest the weight he placed on academic training as such. By contrast, while Drummond valued the academic courses, he did not over-value them. To him, the alternative courses were just as important.

Drummond took the first step quickly. In November 1934 - in a question which neatly summarised the basic opposition to the examination system - W.J. McKell (Labor) asked Drummond in the Assembly whether the Department intended 'to modify in any way the absurd examination system which at present is destroying both mentally and physically a large number of school children?'[91] Drummond responded that Cabinet had consented to the appointment of an Advisory Council, pending the passage of the necessary legislation to give statutory effect to the creation of such a body. Cabinet had also agreed that the membership of the Board of Examiners should be widened. The appointment of the Advisory Council was practically complete, and he expected that it would meet within the next fortnight under the presidency of Dr. Wallace. Its first task would be to examine the reports of the sub-committees and report back to him. Drummond concluded by again stressing the need for change to be introduced slowly, while making it clear that he believed that change was necessary: 'I recognise for my own part that there is necessity for modification of the examination system, and the steps I have taken were taken with that end in view'.

While the Advisory Council was considering the various sub-committee reports, the debate about the education system continued. However, the reformers did not have things all their own way. In January 1935, the Sydney Morning Herald while ambivalent on the examination system, warned them that 'education can be overdone'; education was already the largest item in government spending.[92] The paper went on in February to attack the proposed increase in the leaving age: this, it suggested, would shackle industry, increase unemployment and increase the size of a swollen bureaucracy.[93]

In May 1936, following the Advisory Council's report, Drummond moved to the next stage in the reform. On the 14th he introduced the Public Instruction and University (Amendment) Bill into the Assembly.[94] The Bill was not intended, Drummond told the House, 'to bring about a violent change of the present system of examinations.'[95] Nevertheless, it was an important piece of legislation, for it implemented (partially at least) some of the reforms discussed over the preceding years.

First, and perhaps most importantly in the long term, the Bill altered the way in which secondary education was controlled. The Advisory Council was given statutory recognition, while the membership of the Board of Examiners was extended and its name changed to Board of Secondary School Studies. Instead of four University and four Departmental representatives, the new Board was to have fourteen members; five each from the University and Department, with a further two from the great public and church schools and two representing Departmental secondary school teachers and nominated by the Federation. The Board was also given power to form sub-committees to develop the curriculum of the various subjects and to co-opt others to these committees. The net effect of these changes was to give the Board more authority, while reducing the influence of the University.

In addition to these moves, the Bill gave statutory recognition to parents and citizens' associations, mothers' clubs and other auxiliaries, allowed Sydney University to grant degrees in theology and divinity, and changed the bursary system. The net effect of this last change was to increase the number of University bursaries as well as introducing, for the first time, bursaries tenable at the Technical Colleges. Drummond took particular pride in this measure, which he believed opened up the University and Technical Colleges to poor but bright students.[96]

Finally, the Bill made provision for the new examination system which had originally been recommended by the Secondary Education Committee and then supported again by the Advisory Council. The Intermediate Certificate was to be retained for the non-academic courses, but authority was given for the abolition of the old Leaving Certificate, granted at the end of the fifth year of secondary schooling. Instead, there was to be a Leaving Certificate at the end of the fourth year, followed by a Higher Leaving Certificate taken not earlier than the end of the fifth year. Because of the disruption it could cause, the new system was not to be introduced immediately. Instead, it was to 'be brought in gradually by consent, and by a steady process of evolution.'[97]

One aspect of the proposals worthy of special note is the inclusion of two representatives from the Teachers' Federation on the Board of Secondary School Studies. It was probably inevitable that Drummond, as a Country Party Minister, would face problems in dealing with a trade union in which the pro-Labor and socialist presence was visible and growing.[98] In addition, Drummond was a stubborn man with a well defined view of his role as Minister and of the role of teachers as public servants, views that were certainly not shared in many key respects either by teachers in general or the Federation in particular. As a consequence, his ministerial career was marked by a series of highly visible clashes with the Federation. Nevertheless, he recognised the Federation's importance; in 1964 he told George Baker that it was important for the Federation - in his view, 'a very responsible body' - and the Department always to be on the best possible terms.[99]

Drummond therefore deliberately involved the Federation in the management and development of the education system. Apart from its representatives on the Board of Secondary School Studies, the Federation had been represented on the Secondary Education Committee by its President and the President of the Secondary Teachers' Association. It had also been represented on the committee set up to revise the primary schools syllabuses, while the President of the Technical Teachers' Association was on the advisory group appointed to assist yet another Drummond Committee, that appointed in 1933 to inquire into technical education. By heavily involving the Federation in this way, Drummond continued that formalisation of relationships between the Federation and Department that had begun in the twenties; the Federation had become an integral part of the education system. For its part, the Federation recognised Drummond's commitment to public education, so that between their clashes the relationships between minister and union were often very cordial.

While Drummond's treatment of the Federation reflected its importance, it was also part of his general belief in the importance of public participation. Not only did he give formal recognition to parents and citizens' associations as another integral part of the education system, but he also provided for staff and trade union representation on the Sydney University Senate. In the latter he was probably influenced by Wallace; these moves he later recalled, 'were quite in line with the ideas of the Vice Chancellor who was my very good friend and advisor right through and with whom I worked in complete accord.'[100]



As with secondary education, the Depression brought new problems and new ideas for the technical education system. The New South Wales system dated from 1914 when, under James Nangle, existing technical education facilities were re-organised to link trade training with the apprenticeship system.[101] Technical education was provided by the technical branch through trades schools and the technical colleges which taught the higher diploma courses. In addition, technically oriented education was provided by junior technical schools, essentially secondary tops on primary schools, which came under the control of the Education Department's primary branch.

When Drummond first became Minister in October 1927, New South Wales technical education, as with other parts of the Education Department, was under strain. During 1927, for example, more than a thousand would-be-students in the Sydney area had to be turned away from trades classes owing to lack of space and shortages of staff.[102] In addition, country areas faced special problems in gaining any form of technical education.

Nangle's 1914 reform of the system had significantly improved the standard of technical education, but also effectively destroyed country technical education, for the number of country tradesmen, and hence of apprentices, was too low to justify trades classes in most country towns.[103] This problem was compounded by the very limited resources applied to technical education - only about 4 per cent of the State education budget[104] - which forced Nangle to concentrate his efforts in the metropolitan area where the need was greatest.[105]

Drummond was certainly aware of the general problems facing technical education, but he was also aware of needs elsewhere in the Department. 'The first thing he had to do with funds at this disposal', he told the Council of the Sydney Technical College in July 1935, 'was to provide for primary education, then super-primary or secondary (it being necessary to provide a decent leadup to technical education), and then do the best he could to provide for technical education'.[106] While this sentiment was expressed many years later, there is no doubt he held it in 1927: technical education 'will continue to receive my closest attention', he wrote in his first annual report, 'consistent with the demands made in other fields of Departmental activity.'[107]

Reflecting these priorities, Drummond's efforts in technical education during his first term were largely piece-meal. They also reflected his country orientation, for many of the moves concentrated on remedying what he saw as deficiencies in country technical education. In November 1927 the fees charged for correspondence instruction in technical courses were reduced to the level charged for oral tuition, thus putting the country student on the same cost basis as the city student.[108] Then in the following month he instructed his Department:

As requests have been made to me from time to time for the extension of technical education in country districts, more particularly as it applies to wool-classing, dress making and domestic science, a comprehensive statement might be secured, making suggestions for improvement in the present facilities and generally in regard to the improvement of technical education facilities in rural areas.'[109]

Over the next two years Drummond was able to expand some aspects of country technical education: a new trades school was opened at Lismore while new sheep and wool centres were opened at Albury, Cootamundra and Tamworth.[110] There were some moves in the city as well: with improved facilities the Department was able to expand total student numbers in 1928 by 15 per cent, mainly in Sydney, although students were still being turned away.[111]

As in other areas of education the Depression brought Drummond's tentative improvements to an abrupt halt, creating new problems for the system.[112] The numbers entering the trades classes fell as the number of apprentices dropped; it became difficult to keep some classes going because of the small number of students qualified for training.[113] Then, as the Depression lengthened, public attention swung towards technical education as a possible way of alleviating Depression problems. It was widely believed that unemployment would be reduced if the unemployed were given training in particular skills, for skilled workers suffered less than unskilled workers during the Depression. Further, the dramatic collapse in the prices received for Australia's exports led many to believe that Australia would have to depend increasingly on her secondary industries if such problems were to be avoided in future. But this would require skilled labour, and it was feared that severe shortages of skills would emerge as economic conditions improved and industry developed.

Youth unemployment was a particular worry: 'in far too many cases', reported a New South Wales Government Commission in 1934, 'the brightest intellects of the community are left with thwarted ambitions, and an embittered outlook, aimlessly drifting through life.'[114] This was a problem that was directly linked to technical education. Under the regulations governing trade training a youth had to qualify for a position in trade or commerce between sixteen and twenty-one: the reduction in apprenticeships associated with the Depression thus permanently stopped many from becoming tradesmen. This created a dual problem: it reduced the number of skilled tradesmen and condemned the individuals involved to unskilled work, if in fact they could find it. This problem led all states to ease apprenticeship regulations, and focused attention on ways of expanding technical education. It was also one of the reasons for Drummond's support for a fourth year leaving certificate; this would allow students to go further in the academic course and yet leave them young enough to move into the technical stream should they so wish.[115]

The growing interest in reform of the technical education system received strong support from Newcastle interests. Newcastle's growing industrial base meant that the demand for trade training outran the capacity of the local college to supply it. In addition, the Newcastle College was located in old and dismal buildings squeezed between a main road and a railway line and possessed of very limited equipment.[116] Inadequate facilities combined with another fear, that of academic control of technical education, the domination of technical education by an Education Department oriented towards primary and secondary education and an academic curriculum.

In October 1931 the Advisory Committee of the Newcastle Technical College circulated a memorandum which sketched out a plan for the reform of the technical education system. The memorandum also strongly condemned any move towards academic control by officials not qualified to realise the special character of technical education and the necessity for a well-defined relationship between it and industry.[117] It suggested instead that a Director of Technical Education should be appointed with direct access to the Minister, thus breaking the control of the Education Department. The memorandum was circulated to all technical college advisory committees under cover of a letter signed by representatives from the Broken Hill Proprietary Company, the Hunter District Water and Sewerage Board, Newcastle City Council and the Newcastle division of the Institution of Engineers.

Following Drummond's return to office in 1932 he came under immediate pressure from the Newcastle lobby.[118] They told James Nangle, the Superintendent of Technical Education, that unless the Department did something to improve the situation they would establish their own technical college for their students. Drummond considered that such a move would stultify plans for improvement of the state system, and asked them to hold their hand until he had seen what could be done. This was followed, in October 1933, by the appointment of a Commission to inquire into technical education.[119]

Unlike the Secondary Education Committee, the Commission had only three members.[120] Its chairman, Alexander James Gibson, was a distinguished consulting engineer with extensive industrial experience.[121] Gibson and Drummond had known each other at least since 1931, for Gibson had been president of the All for Australia League, the largest of the anti-party organisations that emerged during the Lang years.[122] He proved to be a good choice: strongly committed to technical education, he was to work with Drummond throughout the thirties to try to put reforms in place. In addition to Gibson, the Commission included James McIntyre, the Commissioner for Apprenticeships, and Alek Hicks. Hicks, who had played such an important part in the establishment of the Armidale Teachers' College, was now an Assistant Under Secretary within the Department, and would shortly become Superintendent of Technical Education upon the retirement of James Nangle. All three men were members of the Secondary Education Committee, with Gibson and McIntyre on its technical education sub-committee.

In undertaking its task, the Commission was asked to use a further six men as advisers. This was an unusual arrangement, but not without sense, for the six were carefully selected. Two, Ross Thomas and Nangle, represented different areas of the Department while John Winning, as President of the Technical Teachers' Association, represented the interests of staff. Of the remaining three, Armand Bland was an expert in public administration while Keith Butler came from Newcastle and Henry Gissing from Wagga Wagga. The reasons for the inclusion of a Newcastle advisor are obvious enough, those for the Wagga choice less so. However, Wagga was the site of a successful community self-help exercise, a community technical college established outside the departmental system and in which Gissing (a long-standing friend of the Drummond boys) had been actively involved.[123]

As with the Secondary Education Committee, the Commission was given wide-ranging terms of reference: it was required 'to inquire into and report upon the organisation of Technical Education... and its adequacy or otherwise for community and other needs.'[124] In addition, and without in any way limiting the scope of its inquiry, it was given ten specific topics to examine. It is in these specific references that Drummond's ideas can be seen most directly, for the terms of reference suggest that the plan he ultimately developed for technical education was already in his mind. There was first, a strong emphasis on country technical education. There was also a strong emphasis on the possibility of developing some measure of local control over technical education. Finally, the Commission was asked to examine whether any system of local contributions towards the cost of technical education could be established.

Drummond's emphasis on local funding no doubt reflected his inability to gain government finance, but it also reflected his basic political beliefs. He considered that, where practicable, government authorities should have to raise directly at least some of the money they spent: in his view, the absence of such restraint meant expenditure without responsibility which risked over-expenditure or, worse, alternating periods of over-expansion and contraction.[125] He also believed that those supporting new proposals should provide a positive lead to the community. Thus in 1928 he had told the Northern University Movement, organised to establish a University at Armidale, to show 'concrete evidence of the willingness of private individuals to endow it. Given such evidence, there was not the slightest doubt that the present government would favourably consider any such proposal.'[126]

The Commission's hearings quickly confirmed what everybody knew, that the technical education system was badly rundown. James Nangle, near to retirement and now freed from restraint, catalogued its weaknesses and outlined his accumulated frustrations. It was not just the lack of funds that annoyed him, but his inability to put his viewpoint to the Minister without going through the Under Secretary. 'An outstanding feature of my experience during the last twenty years has been the fact that, whilst in the ultimate responsible to the government and the state for the efficiency of Technical Education, I have been without any real power', he told the Commission.[127]

Nangle's comments were very strongly worded, particularly considering that they came from a public official. However Drummond, who could react angrily to public criticism by state employees, accepted them without demur because he recognised their essential justice. 'I found', he later recalled, 'that the Head of the Department, Mr Nangle OBE, a man of great ability and with considerable vision, had been so frustrated in his attempts to get even a fair share of the money that he had almost lost heart.'[128] Drummond gave training for aero mechanics and in aerodynamics as an example. When he asked Nangle how much it would cost to bring the State's facilities in this area up to reasonable standard, Nangle replied 500 pounds. Since Drummond knew that existing facilities consisted of a wind tunnel and a few old engines he realised that this figure could not be correct. 'I want to make it clear that that was not an indication of Mr Nangle's real ability - it was an indication that he had been so frustrated in trying to get a decent allocation that he named the smallest sum he possibly could to get something.' In these circumstances, Nangle's evidence to the Commission is understandable.

The Commission reported in May 1934.[129] Not unexpectedly, it concluded that technical education was in a parlous condition, and made a number of specific recommendations intended to improve the situation. Unfortunately, all these cost money, and here the Report's conclusions were less than satisfactory from Drummond's viewpoint. The suggestion that local industries and areas should contribute to technical education had roused hostility, for those consulted believed that technical education was a matter for the state. The Commission therefore concluded that the time was not opportune for the introduction of any system of local contributions towards technical education. However it did propose (following a suggestion from Armand Bland) that the Local Government Act should be amended to allow local councils to contribute to technical education. Its recommendations on local control also fell far short of an integrated plan. It suggested caution, arguing that if the Wagga experiment proved successful then the principles involved could be gradually extended elsewhere.

Drummond now began to develop a detailed plan of his own, based in part on the Commission's recommendations and in part on his own ideas.[130] Under the plan the existing technical education structure, first in Sydney and Newcastle and then later elsewhere in the State, would be transferred to autonomous local councils with powers and authority generally similar to that possessed by Sydney University. In Drummond's view this proposal offered a number of advantages: it linked the technical system more closely to the needs of commerce and industry within a region; the new councils were likely to press the case for technical education more vigorously than had previously been done; it was designed to give technical education a better public profile; and it should assist the system to find alternative sources of funds. To help fund the new arrangements, Drummond decided that a local rate should be levied to give the councils their own source of income.

Development of the proposals took time, and the Government went to the people on 11 May 1935 without action having been taken. Following their renewed electoral success, Drummond attempted to implement his plans. At first everything went well. The Newcastle people, who had initially resisted the idea of raising funds locally, launched an appeal to raise 20,000 pounds; by early July they had raised 14,000 pounds.[131] Then, on 9 July, the Council of Sydney Technical College gave him a sympathetic hearing, although there was some disagreement on points of detail. On 30 July Cabinet endorsed the proposals with the exception of the local rate, which Drummond was asked to discuss further with the Minister for Local Government.

From this point Drummond's plans went seriously wrong. The idea of a local rate was greeted with public outrage: the Bulletin claimed it had not heard of 'a stupider proposal',[132] while Sydney manufacturing interests strongly opposed the idea. Drummond was forced to drop the local rate plan. He persuaded the Government to spend 200,000 pounds on buying land for the Sydney Technical College, but this still left him 250,000 pounds to find if he were to implement the Commission's recommendations within the Sydney region. He therefore turned with renewed emphasis towards the idea of raising money directly from industry by donation, pointing out that 71 per cent of technical education spending took place in Sydney and benefited industry and commerce directly. This argument left industry representatives unmoved. Technical education, they suggested, was a state responsibility. Only in Newcastle were Drummond's plans successful. There the 20,000 pounds appeal succeeded, while the Broken Hill Proprietary Company offered the Government a short term loan of about 144,000 pounds.

While Drummond's defeat on local rates was particularly important, it was not his only defeat. His plan to establish a broadly based Council for the Sydney Technical College including representatives from industry, the unions and community organisations such as women's organisations also met opposition and had to be dropped.

As late as September Drummond still hoped to introduce his plans, for the Governor's speech (delivered on the 11th) promised that legislation would be introduced.[133] However, on 18 November Drummond was forced to go back to Cabinet to say that it was impossible to introduce legislation at an early date. Instead he proposed that his scheme should be introduced, at least in part, in Sydney and Newcastle by administrative action. Cabinet accepted this recommendation, but asked that further consultation be held in the Sydney case.

With his plans still held up, Drummond turned to the Commonwealth as a possible source of funds. In one sense this was an admission of defeat, for he had previously opposed any direct Commonwealth involvement in education. But the form his approach took reflected another of his interests.[134] Studying the reports prepared by the League of Nations' International Labour Office, Drummond had been struck by the number of 'extraodinarily good conventions'[135] adopted affecting child life and education. Australia had acceded to these conventions, but since they fell within state responsibilities the Commonwealth had no mechanism for enforcing them. 'It was clear to me', Drummond said later, 'that unless something were done Australia was apt to be the subject of very adverse criticism.' Drummond believed that the Commonwealth's external affairs power did give it authority to act, but this view was not widely held, and he therefore looked for an alternative. His solution, and one which also met his need to find a way to try to raise funds from the Commonwealth, was the establishment of the Australian Council for Education.

The idea for the Council probably came from Page's success in establishing the Australian Agricultural Council as a consultative body consisting of state and federal agricultural ministers.[136] Drummond circularised the various state education ministers, setting out the reasons why they should get together and try to form common policies on subjects not of a controversial nature. This invitation was accepted by all states except Western Australia, and the ministers agreed to meet in Melbourne early in March 1936.

Drummond had asked Dr. Harold Wyndham, head of the Department's newly established research branch - the first in Australia - to prepare statistical material for the meeting. Wyndham had done so, but the hard-pressed Drummond had been unable to look at the material before joining the train at Sydney. He went to bed early, but about 9 o'clock woke up, seized a pad, and by the time he reached Albury had written his whole statement, leaving blanks for the figures. The result, subsequently published as a pamphlet, was a clear and persuasive statement of the need for Commonwealth assistance.[137]

Drummond began by showing that the demands on the state education systems had risen sharply since the war. This meant that the states had been forced to increase spending on education. However, spending in other areas had risen well, while the states' ability to raise taxation revenue had been steadily reduced by the encroachment of the Commonwealth into every field of state taxation. As a result the states needed to increase spending on education, but could not do so. Drummond did not suggest that the Commonwealth assist all areas of education. However, he thought that technical education was a special case.

The Commonwealth's policy was to encourage secondary industry through the tariff. This increased customs collections and hence Commonwealth revenue, but increased state spending since the states had to provide the technical education necessary to service the growing industries. Good technical education would encourage the efficiency of the industries the Commonwealth was trying to develop and was essential for the proper defence of the country. It would also encourage employment, particularly of young people, by providing trained workers for existing industries and research for, and training in, new industries. Australia must develop such industries, for economic nationalism expressed in quotas and other restrictions had limited the country's traditional exports.

The ministers met in an atmosphere of mutual suspicion, but Drummond's proposals appealed; they agreed to form a permanent Council of Ministers and to approach the Commonwealth - the first but not the last such approach - for funds. A delegation of three, including Drummond, saw Lyons and Casey, the Federal Treasurer. The move failed: not only did the Commonwealth reject the application out of hand, but the united state front quickly broke down. This left Drummond, as before, searching for funds. This search would dominate his efforts in the technical education area for the remainder of the decade.

This post continues my story of the life of the New England Leader David Henry Drummond. You will find a full list of posts here.

[1]Interview Transcript

[2]The material in this paragraph is based partly on discussion between Drummond and author. On a number of occasions Drummond spoke of the problems he had had with his Department, although he did not specify the officers involved.

[3]The details on Ross Thomas were supplied by the Education Department and are also drawn from B. Mitchell, Teachers, Education and Politics: A History of Organisations of Public School Teachers in New South Wales, University of Queensland Press, St. Lucia, 1975, p.132. My assessment of Ross Thomas differs from that put forward by Mitchell, who describes him as 'earnest, cautious and colourless', and suggests that he was increasingly overshadowed by Drummond. While Drummond did dominate the Department, Ross Thomas was no mere cypher. To take an early example, in June 1924, Ross Thomas publicly suggested to members of the Armidale Parents and Citizens Association: 'His advice to the Association was to ask for all they wanted, and to keep on asking until they got it. Mr Drummond M.L.A., was to be present on the following morning. They should show him the requirements of the school, and tell him they were not going to sit down for long and wait for something to come. The kindergarten room was more than a scandal; it was a crime. The condition of the girls' school was a sordid detriment to the health of the teachers...'. (Armidale Express, 24 June 1924). Such pungent public criticisms of his own Department suggest a strong willed man not afraid to make a stand.

[4]On 20 August 1926 Ross Thomas wrote to Drummond: 'I think it would be a good thing if all our inspectors had a copy of it. If you send me fifty I will have them sent out'. Original in FP.

[5]For an example see B. Bessant and A.D. Spaull, Politics of Schooling, Pitman Pacific, Carlton, 1976, pp.66-67.

[6]The description of the Beatrice Taylor affair is drawn from Mitchell, Teachers, Education and Politics, pp.114-118.

[7]NSWPD, Vol.134, 13 September 1932, p.154.

[8]The League is described in Mitchell, Teachers, Education and Politics, pp.103-109.

[9]DM, pp.18-19.

[10]NSWPD, Vol.138, 13 September 1933, p.496.

[11]For Section Fourteen grants see: NSWPD, Vol.134, 13 September 1932, p.114 and 20 September 1932, pp.323-324; for Destitute Persons Bill see: Vol.135, 8 November 1932, pp.1771-1782, and 16 November 1932, pp.2075-2085.

[12]NSWPD, Vol.135, 8 November 1932, p.1775.

[13]NSWPD, Vol.135, 16 November 1932, p.2076.

[14]The material on the school fees debate is drawn from: B.K. Hyams and B. Bessant, Schools for the People? An Introduction to the History of State Education in Australia, Longman Australia, Camberwell, 1972, pp.137-139.

[15]This issue is discussed in Mitchell, Teachers, Education and Politics, pp.96-97, 112-113. See also NSWPD, Vol.134, 8 September 1932, pp.103-106; 14 September, pp.215-235, 15 September, pp.258-260; 29 September, pp.648-665.

[16]Jessie Street to Drummond, 29 December 1930. Drummond to Street, 14 January 1931. Quoted NSWPD, Vol.134, 14 September 1932, p.227.

[17]NSWPD, Vol.134, 8 September 1932, p.105.

[18]General material in this section is drawn from: transcript of the Royal Commission into the Child Welfare Department, Court Reporting Branch, Supreme Court, 6/1780-1, New South Wales State Archives (referred to in footnotes as McCulloch transcript); Child Welfare Department: Report on the General Organisation, Control and Administration of, with special reference to State Welfare Institution (McCulloch Commission), Government Printer, Sydney, 1934; Department of Youth and Community Service, New South Wales Child Welfare: Historical Background 1800-1975, Mmeo, no date.

[19]McCulloch transcript, p.70.

[20]Unless otherwise cited, the material in this and the immediately following paragraphs is drawn from: NSWPD, Vol.138, 7 December 1933, pp.1495-1496, 1565-1566; Vol.139, 26 April 1934, pp.41-42.

[21]NSWPD, Vol.138, 7 December 1933, p.1495.

[22]Ibid, pp.1495-1496.

[23]Ibid, p.1496.

[24]Unless otherwise cited, material on the McCulloch inquiries is drawn from the McCulloch Transcript and McCulloch Report.

[25]NSWPD, Vol.139, 26 April 1934, pp.41-42.


[27]McCulloch Report, p.54.

[28]The terms of reference are set out in ibid, p.v.

[29]Ibid, p.2.

[30]McCulloch Report, p.63.

[31]Drummond to Department, 4 March 1930. Ministerial Letter Book, Drummond Papers, University of New England Archives, A248/V2133.

[32]McCulloch Report, p.2.

[33]McCulloch Transcript, p.50.

[34]McCulloch Report, p.4.

[35]Ibid, p.26.

[36]NSWPD, Vol.141, 21 August 1934, p.2722; 26 September 1934, pp.2800-2801.

[37]NSWPD, Vol.140, 10 July 1034, p.1709. See also 4 July 1934, pp.1583-1584.

[38]Unless otherwise cited, the detail in this paragraph is drawn from NSWPD, Vol.142, 20 December 1934, pp.5063-5071.

[39]McCulloch Report, p.26.

[40]NSWPD, Vol.142, 20 December 1934, p.5070.

[41]Ibid, pp.5063-5071.

[42]Ibid, p.5070.

[43]New South Wales State Archives, Premier's Department, Cabinet Documents, 10/6-35/12/35, 9/3028.1.

[44]New South Wales State Archives, Premier's Department, Cabinet Documents, 10/6-35/12/35, 9/3028.1.


[46]NSWPD, Vol.145, 18 September 1935, pp.174-183.

[47]Ibid, pp.149-150, p.182.

[48]Ibid, p.181.

[49]Ibid, Vol.147, 24 March 1936, pp.2774-2775; 23 april 1936, pp.3254-3266.

[50]New South Wales State Archives, Premier's Department, Cabinet Documents, 28 April - 31 December 1938, 9/3030. The material is drawn particularly from Drummond's minute to Ministers dated 23 May 1938, and circulated to Ministers on 17 June.

[51]Quoted from Drummond's Minute to Cabinet.

[52]Interview Transcript. Material in this and next paragraph, including the discussion on the death penalty, is drawn from the Interview Transcript.

[53]Information drawn from the Child Welfare Department Annual Reports. This information is summarised in New South Wales Child Welfare: Historical Background.

[54]Child Welfare Department Annual Report 1936 and 1937, p.3.

[55]See the Green Paper Secretariat Papers, Mitchell Library, Sydney.

[56]Material in this section is drawn particularly from G. Cooke, 'Public opinion, political activity and ministerial influence in Education, N.S.W., 1873-1941', MEd (Hons) thesis, University of Sydney, 1967, especially Chapter 5.

[57]Daily Telegraph. Cited ibid, p.357.

[58]28 January 1926. Cited ibid, p.340.

[59]27 January 1927. Cited ibid, p.341.

[60]Interview Transcript.

[61]Biographical data is drawn from J.A. Alexander, Who's Who in Australia, XIVth edition, 1950, Cologravure Publications, Melbourne, 1950, p.729; and from Wallace's letter to Drummond of 11 January 1941 (original in FP), quoted later in the paragraph. The details on the establishment of the Secondary Education Committee are drawn from Interview Transcript.

[62]Interview Transcript.

[63]Cooke, 'Ministerial Influence in Education', p.382; Mitchell, Teachers, Education and Politics, p.132.

[64]Report and Recommendation of Committee of Investigation Appointed to Inquire into the System of Examinations and Secondary School Courses, Government Printer, Sydney, 1934. See also Report of the Minister for Public Instruction 1933, Government Printer, Sydney, 1934, pp.3-4.

[65]Sydney Morning Herald, 27 July 1933. Cited Cooke, 'Ministerial Influence in Education', p.394.

[66]Interview Transcript.

[67]The material in this paragraph is drawn from Cooke, 'Ministerial Influence in Education', pp.393-395.

[68]20 July 1933.

[69]3 August 1933.

[70]Sydney Morning Herald, 15 December 1933.

[71]Sydney Morning Herald, 22 November 1933.

[72]Sydney Morning Herald, 19 December 1933.

[73]NSWPD, Vol.140, 11 May 1934, p.1761.

[74]Sydney Morning Herald, 12 March 1934. Cited Cooke, 'Ministerial Influence in Education', p.395.

[75]Sydney Morning Herald, 9 April 1934. Cited Cooke, 'Ministerial Influence in Education', p.396.

[76]Report and Recommendation of Committee, p.2.


[78]Ibid, p.1.

[79]29 November, 1933. Cited Cooke, 'Ministerial Influence in Education', p.398.

[80]Cited ibid, p.396.

[81]11 June. Cited ibid, p.398.

[82]For an outline of Drummond's view of his role as Minister see: D.H. Drummond, 'Some Economic Aspects of Education', Lecture 1, 1937 session, Blennerhassett's Institute of Accountancy Ltd., Sydney, 1937.

[83]Sydney Morning Herald, 30 July 1934. Cited Cooke, 'Ministerial Influence in Education', pp.398-400.

[84]Sydney Morning Herald, 22 December 1924. Cited ibid, p.400.

[85]NSWPD, Vol.148, 14 May, p.2974.

[86]FSA Conference Report, 1911.

[87]Sydney Morning Herald, 14 December 1933. Cited Cooke, 'Ministerial Influence in Education', p.395. The description of Wade is drawn from: D.A. Aitkin, The Colonel: A Political Biography of Sir Michael Bruxner, Australian National University Press, Canberra, 1969, p.154.

[88]This and the next quotation are drawn from Cooke, 'Ministerial Influence in Education', p.397.

[89]Interview Transcript.

[90]A. Barcan, A Short History of Education in New South Wales, Martindale Press, Sydney, 1965, p.241.

[91]NSWPD, Vol.142, 8 November 1934, pp.3870-3871.

[92]16 January. Cited Cooke, 'Ministerial Influence in Education', p.403.

[93]Sydney Morning Herald, 28 February 1935. See also 7 August 1935. Cited ibid, p.403.

[94]NSWPD, Vol.148, 14 May 1936, pp.3793-3803; 19 May 1936, pp.3869-3889; 21 May 1936, pp.3970-3978, 3980-3998; and 26 May 1936, pp.4057-4069.

[95]NSWPD, Vol.148, 14 May 1936, p.3793.

[96]Interview Transcript.

[97]NSWPD, Vol.148, 19 May 1936, p.3872.

[98]Unless otherwise cited, the material on the relationship between Drummond and the Federation is drawn from Mitchell, Teachers, Education and Politics, pp.132-133.

[99]Interview Transcript.

[100]Interview Transcript.

[101]J. Nangle, 'Report on Technical Education', Appendix No.1, Report on the Technical Education System of New South Wales, Government Printer, Sydney, 1935, pp.75-89, briefly summarizes the history of technical education in New South Wales.

[102]Report of the Minister of Public Instruction for Year ended 31st December 1927, Government Printer, Sydney, 1928, pp.12-13.

[103]The decline in the Albury trade's school is a good example. The Report on the Technical Education System noted (p.120) that the 'alteration in the conditions of employment closed the school to all but apprentices, and this appeared to have a detrimental effect on the school itself and the local committee... It was stated that, although carpentry classes flourished at one time, they lapsed when the trade restrictions were placed on enrolment'.

[104]Report on the Technical Education System, p.10.

[105]Ibid, p.12.

[106]Minutes of a Meeting of Members of the Technical College Council called together by the Hon. D.H. Drummond, M.L.A., Minister for Education, for the purpose of discussing future policy necessary to meet the requirements of technical education development in New South Wales generally, but more particularly in regard to Sydney and Newcastle, Sydney, 9 July 1935, p.2, New South Wales State Archives, Technical Education Special Bundles, 1926-1950, 8/2321.

[107]Report of the Minister of Public Instruction... 1927, p.13.

[108]Sydney Morning Herald, 10 November 1927.

[109]Drummond to Department, 8 December 1927. Ministerial Letter Book, Drummond Papers, University of New England Archives, A248/V2133, p.13.

[110]Reports of the Minister of Public Instruction... 1927-1930.

[111]Report of the Minister for Public Instruction for the year ending 31 December 1928, Government Printer, Sydney, 1929, p.9.

[112]Unless otherwise cited, material on technical education and the Depression is drawn from: Bessant and Spaull, Politics of Schooling, pp.65-66; Hyams and Bessant, Schools for the People? pp.142-147.

[113]Nangle, 'Report on Technical Education', p.76.

[114]Report of Technical Education Commission, p.11.

[115]Interview Transcript.

[116]Report of Technical Education Commission, p.15.

[117]Cited Bessant and Spaull, Politics of Schooling, p.65.

[118]This paragraph is drawn from the Interview Transcript.

[119]The following material on the Commission is drawn from the Report of the Technical Education Commission.

[120]The Commission's membership, and the membership of the Advisory Panel, is drawn from Report of the Technical Education Commission, p.5.

[121]Basic biographical data is drawn from Who's Who 1950.

[122]See J. McCarthy, '"All for Australia": Some Right Wing Responses to the Depression in New South Wales, 1929-1931', Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society, Vol.57, pt.2, June 1971, pp.160-171.

[123]For a description of the Wagga scheme see Report of the Technical Education Commission, pp.127-128.

[124]Ibid, p.5.

[125]See Drummond's evidence to the Peden Commission. Glen Innes Examiner, Sydney Morning Herald, 6 March 1928 and Northern Daily Leader, 9 March 1928.

[126]Sydney Morning Herald, 3 March 1928.

[127]Report of the Technical Education Commission, p.49. Emphasis in original.

[128]This quotation, and the material on aero training, is drawn from the Interview Transcript.

[129]For a summary of the Commission's recommendations see Report of the Technical Education Commission, pp.60-72.

[130]Unless otherwise cited, the next few paragraphs are drawn from: New South Wales State Archives, Technical Education Special Bundles 1926-1950, 8/2321; New South Wales State Archives, Premier's Department, Cabinet Documents, 10 June to 25 December 1935, 9/3028.1.

[131]The exact date this appeal was launched is unclear from the documents.

[132]7 August 1935. Cited Cooke, 'Ministerial Influence in Education', p.389.

[133]NSWPD, Vol.145, pp.3-4.

[134]Unless otherwise cited, material on the Council is drawn from: Interview Transcript; D.H. Drummond, the Future of Education in Australia, Express Office, Armidale, 1954; Bessant and Spaull, The Politics of Schooling, p.141; and Hyams and Bessant, Schools for the People?, pp.151-153.

[135]This and the next quotation are drawn from the Interview Transcript.

[136]Sir Earle Page, Truant Surgeon: The Inside Story of Forty Years of Australian Political Life, Angus and Robertson, Sydney, 1963, p.231ff.

[137]Technical Education in Australia. Administration and Finance, Government Printer, Sydney, 1936.