The Industrial Arts Recollections Project

The Industrial Arts Recollections Project reflects on the historical roots of Industrial Arts in New South Wales schools. Interviews with several founding members reveal the challenges many educators faced in gaining validation for the Industrial Arts curriculum with the New South Wales Board of Studies. Their collective journey has secured its academic and practical relevance to the 21st Century class room as we experience it today.

In the 1970s and 1980s significant developments occurred in the Industrial Arts Curriculum area in NSW secondary schools. Teachers in schools and those in leadership positions cooperated to address the needs of students through developing curriculum and introducing equipment which reflected emerging student needs and contemporary industrial and educational practice. 

This project attempted to record the recollections of some of those who initiated, developed and implemented these advancements and some of those who were close observers or had special stories to share. From late in 2011 to 2014, about 30 people were interviewed. These recordings were typed into transcripts and edited to correct errors and enhance readability. Recollections of the activities and developments in this period and of the enthusiastic participation of IA teachers in these have thus been recorded and captured. The interviews were coordinated and conducted by Arch Park and Geoff Hogan.

Many IA teachers were positively affected by these developments, their involvement in the processes and by the people with whom they worked. Another result of this period was the friendships which formed and continue to the present time. The associated sentiments are probably well expressed in an extract from Henry Lawson’s poem published in 1889.

The night too quickly passes
And we are growing old,
So let us fill our glasses
And toast the Days of Gold:
When finds of wondrous treasure
Set all the South ablaze,
And you and I were faithful mates
All through the roaring days!

Arch Park

Arch played a leading and highly significant role in the developments of this period. He trained at Newcastle TC and taught in schools in the South Cost, Hunter and Metropolitan West Regions. He was the Met West Region Industrial Arts Consultant and established the committee structure which evolved into the “Involvement Model” and the “Muirfield” Conferences. He was the Professional Assistant to John Farnsworth the Met West Regional Director. Arch initiated the idea for a practical HSC course for Years 11 and 12 which was named Industrial Technology. He was a member of the Syllabus Committee and played a leading role in its development and in securing its approval. He introduced many contemporary machines and equipment and initiated many inservice education activities. Arch played a significant role in the revision of Technics in the early 1980s.

Barrie Mayo

Barrie was a well-regarded and active person in Industrial Arts and was HT at James Cook High School during the trial and introduction of Technics in the mid-1970s. Barrie succeeded Geoff George as the Industrial Arts Consultant in the Studies Directorate and played a significant role in the development and introduction of Industrial Technology. Barrie developed and led the introduction of Practical Marking for Industrial Technology which was a new process in NSW for the assessment of student achievement counting towards their HSC mark. He became an Industrial Arts Inspector of Schools.

Bruce Lucas

Bruce started teaching in 1966 at Coolamon Central and then at Cleveland Street BHS when he completed the DipIA(Ed). He became Secondary Master at Holbrook Central and in 1978 HTIA at Enmore HS and then Marrickville HS. He succeeded Barrie Mayo as the Directorate of Studies Industrial Arts Consultant. In 1989 he became Deputy Principal at Cleveland Street HS and then Woolooware HS. He retired in 2010. Bruce coordinated the Industrial Technology implementation and coordinated the review of the Technics and Technical Drawing Syllabuses in the period 1983-86. Bruce made some interesting comments on the introduction of Design into IA syllabuses. Bruce was well placed to observe and report on the processes and the contributions made by individuals in this period.

Mick Eccleston

After a spell teaching in Canada, Mick was appointed to Picnic Point HS in 1971 where he worked with Ray Holden. Both Ray and Mick led the Teachers Federation IASIG and the successful Class Sizes campaign of the late 1970s and early 1980s. Mick served on many syllabus, examination and related committees and made significant contributions to steering Industrial Technology though to its final approval, development and implementation. He served as an initial Supervisor of Marking for Industrial Technology and for Design and Technology. In the late 1980s and early 1990s he served on the TASKLACC which saw the introduction of Design and Technology. He provides many details of those experiences.

John Farnsworth

John was Regional Director in Met West throughout this period. His was a frontier-inspired governance in which new schools appeared in rapid succession across the Region, particularly in Mt Druitt. It created an atmosphere in which change and new ideas were eagerly embraced. It was in this climate that Industrial Technology happened. John Farnsworth genuinely supported people, schools, and subject areas that sought betterment. He particularly supported Industrial Arts. This appreciation of people and the ability to accurately measure needs was in no small way built on by his wide range of experiences in education. John graduated Primary trained from Balmain Teachers College and the University of Sydney. He commenced teaching in 1948 at Skeleton Creek near Glen Innis at a one-teacher school while boarding at a nearby farm and at Mozart near Oberon. There followed appointments around the bush as well as Penrith High, before becoming District Inspector at Bega in 1966. In 1970 John became DI at Mt Druitt, then Asst. Regional Director and Regional Director.

Tom Darby

Tom began his teaching career in 1956 at Gundagai and Adelong Central. His vast experience in IA Education covered schools throughout NSW as well as tours overseas. As an IA Inspector beginning in 1973, including a period as Chair of the Panel, he had specific responsibilities for North Sydney and North West Regions. He also led an invigorative influence in the form of the IA Equipment Committee during this period, that covered a full agenda of issues presented by representatives from all Regions at meetings held throughout each year. Tom steered much of the acceptance of Industrial Technology and the revision of Technics through his leadership and advice to teachers in schools, at meetings and at conferences held around the State. 

Geoff George

Geoff commenced his teaching career at Lithgow HS followed by schools in the Riverina and Met West Regions. He was appointed Industrial Arts Consultant in the Directorate of Studies in the late 1970’s during the introduction of Technics and the development of Industrial Technology in schools. He became an Inspector of Schools in the early 1980’s with Industrial Arts responsibilities in both Western and Met West Regions. He was able to witness the changing role of the Inspector of Schools to more of a consultative and advisory function together with determination for promotion of teachers. During this time he was able to observe the many developments that occurred through teacher consultation in Industrial Arts education which could be described as the “Golden Years”.

Peter Smith

Peter was a student at Coffs Harbour HS in the 1940s. He commenced teacher training, the ASTC, in 1951 after an interview with Inspector Gardiner. He taught at Dubbo HS in the mid1950s. He then taught in schools in western Sydney. When Peter was HTIA at Arthur Phillip HS from 1971 he played a significant role in the Met West Industrial Arts committee structure being a very effective Chairperson of the Subject and Resources Committee. Peter was uniquely placed to recall experiences of early IA teacher training, teaching in a country school in the 1950s and the later successful Met West IA activities.

Kevin Dodds

Kevin commenced teaching in 1960 prior to the introduction of the Wyndham Scheme, and was one of the last to complete, part-time, the diploma which carried the ASTC award. For most of his service his schools included Dapto HS, Sefton HS, and then HT at Kingswood HS and Muirfield HS. Kevin was active in the IA committees in the Met West Region and the initiatives that emerged from them. He also played a crucial role in organising the so-called Muirfield Conferences for Industrial Arts teachers in the Met West Region and the IA Craft Awards in the 1980s. Kevin experienced the pre-Wyndham days and the important developments in the 1970s and 80s, from a school-based perspective, and the positive impact of these in terms of curriculum, equipment and inservice training.

John Gibson

John an early student in the IA teaching degree at UNSW. He taught in country and city schools before becoming a lecturer at Sydney Teachers College where he stayed through its various entities before merging into Sydney University becoming a Snr. Lecturer. John played a significant role in IA developments and maintained a close link between IA teachers in schools and teacher training. He often spoke at inservice programs, particularly on materials science. John was active in the Institute of Industrial Arts. Two of the many positions he held were President and Journal Editor. He served on the TASKLACC In the late 1980s and early 1990s. In many negotiations for IA John demonstrated a grasp of details. 

Geoff Hogan

Geoff trained at Newcastle TC in the Artisan Program in 1970. He was active in the Met West IA network carrying out tasks associated with the development of Industrial Technology and the Technics revision in the 1980s. He taught at Camden HS, Macquarie Boys HS, Crestwood HS and was IAHT at Penrith HS and Hunters Hill HS. In1980 he was seconded to a position in Head Office. With John Deeble, he investigated and reported on the introduction of computers in IA. In the late 1980s and early 1990s he served on the TASKLACC which saw the introduction of Design and Technology. Geoff was active in the Institute of Industrial Arts, as IIATE was known, serving in various roles including President. He was DP at St Clair HS and Crestwood HS and Principal at Macquarie BHS.

Darryl Hyslop

Darryl taught Western, Met West and Hunter Regions and was IA Head Teacher Mitchell HS in the 1970s before transferring to the Newcastle area in the early 1980s. He served on the Equipment Committee and was closely involved in Met West IA activities. Darryl was well placed to note the developments related to equipment and the curriculum and the impact of these on students, the positive impact of Industrial Technology and also the differences he experienced in Newcastle schools and the Hunter Region compared with his earlier experiences in Western and Met West Regional schools.

Ken Clark

Ken trained at Sydney TC in1961-63. He started teaching in 1963 at the start of the Wyndham Scheme and spent most of his teaching career in Met West Region. He was IAHT at Katoomba HS, Colyton HS and the first IAHT at Winmalee HS. Ken was active in Met West IA committies and activities and was typical of many of the youg teachers and head teachers in Met West at that time. He able to observe some of the developments in the 1970s and 80s and the people involved. His many experiences included girls gradually taking up IA courses and the interesting people who were in Met West at that time, particularly noting the significance of John Farnsworth as Regional Director.

Earle Morris

Earle trained at Newcastle Teachers College as an Artisan in 1960, the first year of that program and later completed the IA Diploma. He had served a fitting and machining apprenticeship in the NSW Railways. His national service training gave him the background for his involvement in school cadets. Earle’s first appointment was Liverpool BHS during the pre-Wyndham scheme. He moved to Fairvale HS, a new school, where he obtained his List 2. Earle became a moderator for practical marking in IA School Certificate subjects. In 1973 he became HT IA at Greystanes HS moving to James Ruse AHS in 1984. Earle chaired the Met West IA Inservice Committee and was involved in many Met West IA activities.

Rupert Jones

Rupert trained as a primary teacher and transferred to Industrial Arts, completing the IA Diploma. He was an IA teacher at Granville BHS and HT in a number of schools in Met South West Region. Rupert was active on the Equipment Committee and contributed to many of the developments of the period. He was known for his colourful use of language, perhaps acquired during his time as a cadet journalist prior to entering teaching. Rupert’s experiences gave him opportunities to note aspects of teaching in the period leading up to the 1970s and the developments of the 1970s and 1980s from the perspective of a teacher based in the Met South West Region. Rupert was also well positioned to observe some of the difficulties faced by IA teachers in the late 1980s and 1990s and threats these presented to the developments made up to the late 1980s. He played a significant role in the campaign to retain Industrial Technology in the 1990s.

Howard Kennedy

Howard started teaching at Bankstown BHS in 1980. After a term and he went to Windsor HS. He also taught at Hawkesbury HS and then Mitchell HS. He became a consultant in Western Region, then HTTAS at Cherrybrook Technology HS and then the TAS Inspector at the Board of Studies. He is currently Deputy Director Curriculum and Assessment. Howard was inspired by his first HT Doug Nelson and others involved in Met West IA activities. He became involved in these. Howard recalled the camaraderie and achievements, the Muirfield Conferences and the Met West IA committees. The impact of the IA Craft awards at Mitchell HS and the link that made with the local member John Aquilina was noted. Howard was well placed to reflect on the developments in IA.

Phill Jordan

Phil was a student at Parramatta HS when IA courses were first introduced there. He did his HSC in 1967, the first Wyndham HSC group.He went to Sydney CAE and commenced teaching at Condell Park HS in 1971. Phil then moved to Met West Region where he was a teacher and HT in many schools. Phil was very active in the Met West IA operation and initiated the IA Craft awards when he was at Mitchell HS. Phil’s experiences gave him some valuable insights into the impact of people he was associated with both during teacher training and as a teacher and also into the IA developments that emerged from Met West Region.

Phil Morley

Phil trained at Newcastle TC and taught at Golburn HS moving to Parramatta HS in 1975. Parramata HS moved from being selective to comprehensive. Phil became HT at Doonside HS which was a stark contrast to Parramatta. He later transferred to Marsden HS. Phil was involved in and valued the Met West IA activities of the 1970s and 1980s. He also encountered many unique people. Phil appreciated and noted some of the pragmatic aspects and values practiced by IA teachers in the 1970s and 80s, notably the importance of keeping IA classrooms well organised and the tools and equipment well maintained.

Astrid Perdriau

Astrid attended Willoughby Girls HS and was keen to study Technical Drawing, but it was not available in a girls school. She was admitted into an Architecture degree at UNSW but moved to the IA teacher training degree as it carried a scholarship. There she met and married a fellow IA student John Perdriau. Her first school was Davidson HS. She then went to Fort Street HS and then to Pittwater HS. Astrid continued her career in the Met North Region, becoming HTIA at St Ives HS. Astrid was heavily involved in IA activities, particularly with the Institute. Astrid was a pioneering female IA teacher. Her experience has caused her to develop firm views on good teaching, the importance of Technology in education, the benefits of the IA curriculum and on some of the current issues in schools.    


Ruth Thompson

At a country high school in the 1970s Ruth eagerly studied IA subjects. She proceeded to the IA teaching degree at UNSW. Ruth started teaching in 1979 and taught in many Met South West schools. She is currently HT at Bossley Park HS. Ruth married a fellow IA teacher Peter Thompson and with Peter was strongly involved in IA activities and has conducted many IA inservice programs. Ruth was a pioneering female IA student and teacher and was uniquely placed to note the changes which emerged with the inception of the TAS KLA and what makes a good teacher. Ruth has also been involved in introducing modern technology and the impact of this on current student projects, but retains a commitment to developing fine motor skills in students.

David Shaw

David attended Macquarie BHS. He was a student at Macquarie University from 1972 to 1975 training as an Economics and Geography teacher. He was appointed to Arthur Phillip HS in 1976 and transferred to IA, undertaking the DipIA(Ed). His first IA position was at Granville BHS from 1977 to 1983, then James Ruse AHS for a year. David became HT at Blacktown BHS for 4 and then Pendle Hill HS from 1991 to 1999. He was seconded to the Board of Studies during 1999 as a Curriculum Officer. His final appointment was as a HT at James Ruse AHS. His initial influence to engage in the Met West IA network came from Peter Smith at Arthur Phillip HS. David experienced the “solidarity of the IA brotherhood” of the 1980s. He was a practical marker for Industrial Technology, assisted on the Examination Committee and was a Senior Marker.

Bob Guthrie

Bob was a student at Canterbury BHS in the early 1950’s where he was taught by Harry Taylor and Jack Clarke. Both became IA Inspectors. John Howard, later to become Prime Minister, was a fellow student. Bob was recruited into a program at Sydney Boys THS which further recruited students into the Manual Arts teacher training diploma. Bob was a teacher, HT and DP in several schools. He also taught in the IA teaching degree at UNSW. Importantly Bob worked in the Schools Building Research and Development Unit for NSW High Schools. He retired in 1992 as Principal of Glen Innes HS.

John Barlow

John was a student at Sefton HS when Kevin Dodds and John Gibson were teachers there. He completed a BScIA degree at UNSW in 1973 and worked at UNSW before becoming an IA teacher at Christian Brothers HS Balmain in 1978 and later at Liverpool Patrician Brothers and Marist Sisters Woolwich. John was involved in the consultation processes in Sydney Catholic schools and the links between IA teachers in Catholic and Government schools, including the Institute of IA. John was active in the Institute and was Journal Editor. He was active in the Federal association established as the Australian Council for Education Through Technology, now the Design and Technology Teachers Association –Australia. John became a lecturer at the Australian Catholic University in the Technology Teacher Education Program. He has experienced many changes to IA teacher education and the issues confronting those programs and universities since the 1990’s.

Bruce Allen

Bruce left school in 1961, spent 12 years as a boiler maker and two years in the Army doing national service and had worked on many notable projects. Bruce trained at Newcastle TC and started teaching in 1976. Bruce taught in schools in Met South West where he was involved in the introducion of electronics in Technics and teaching Industrial Technology when it was first introduced. He is able to reflect on the developments of the period from the perspective of a teacher in the Met South West Region. After he “retired” Bruce worked as a casual teacher in an exclusive private school. He was involved in a number of interesting out of school activities that operated in Met South West and and also with model railways and locomotives.

Paul Stewart

Paul trained at Newcastle. His first apointment was to Arthur Phillip HS in 1974 where Peter Smith was HT. Paul experienced Peter’s encouraging ways which was “the whole ethos of all the staff (and) that was in Met West”. He transferred to Belmont HS in 1983 and became HTIA at Glendale HS in 1992. Paul experienced many of the developments in this period, particularly with equipment and the training of staff and students in the use of new equipment. Paul also experienced differences between Arthur Phillip HS and Belmont HS. He many fond memories of IA in that period. Paul also aquired a box of IA related archival materials.

Ray Murray

Ray was in the first group to complete the Degree for IA teachers at Newcastle CAE in 1978. He entered as an Artisan. His first appointment was Dunheved HS in Met West Region where Byron Hoad and Arch Park were HTs stating this was “the most wonderful teaching experiences that I had ever had and I learnt a great deal”. He experienced aspects of the Met West IA operation including the telephone information gathering network and inservice activities. Paul used the term “Golden Age” when speaking of this period. He transferred to Maitland Grossman HS in 1988 and became HT IA at Cessnock HS in the late 1990s.

Garry Winter

Garry became HTIA at the Correspondence School in 1986 and experienced the operation of IA in the final years of the Correspondence School including the conditions for enrolment, subjects available, teaching methods and resources used. He transferred to Glebe HS as HTIA and then to the restructured Correspondence School at Sydney Distance Education HS where he was involved in the introduction of field visits, revising many of the teaching resources and experienced some of the issues associated with students in remote areas and in Juvenile Justice institutions. Garry had observer status on syllabus committees and experienced the developments linked to the Technics revision of the 1980s. He also experienced some of the personalities at the Correspondence School. 

Trevor Host

Trevor was appointed to the Correspondence School in 1981 and then to Sydney Distance Education HS. When he arrived many of the lesson materials were dated and he experienced the updating of these initiated by Garry Winter. Trevor also encountered various groups of students at the Correspondence School and the nature of their particular situations. He also experienced the restructuring of Correspondence School into Distance Education Centres from 1989 to 1991. Trevor also had to manage the stigma sometimes associated with teaching in the correspondence school.

George Gazy

George trained at Sydney Teachers College and was appointed to Urara HS and Coffs Harbour HS as a reserve teacher. He transferred to the Correspondence School in 1980 and continued in Distance Education and is currently HTTAS at Sydney Distance Education HS. George’s experiences included adjusting to the uniqueness of Distance Education, its programs, the way these operated and also of some of the personalities. He was also involved in the improving aspects of how IA operated there, including contact with students and the improvement of teaching materials, strategies and resources. He also was involved in many humorous incidents worth noting.

Russell Bryson

Russell trained at Sydney TC. His first appointment was the Correspondence School in 1974. He was a young man among many older teachers. Russell transferred to Narwee HS in about 1985, but later returned to Sydney Distance Education HS. He was well placed to observe what the Correspondence School was and what it became; particularly through the courses offered, the impact of Technics, the provision of appropriate practical work, the introduction of resources in addition to printed materials and changing enrolment patterns, particularly related to students with special needs and those whose parents had transferred overseas.