Meekatharra School of the Air a loved institution

Raelene HallMidwest Times
Brothers Kenneth and Matthew Hall, with sister Kelly and Meekatharra School of the Air teacher Karen Long prior to Kenneth leaving for Point Peron Camp in about 1995.
Camera IconBrothers Kenneth and Matthew Hall, with sister Kelly and Meekatharra School of the Air teacher Karen Long prior to Kenneth leaving for Point Peron Camp in about 1995. Credit: Raelene Hall

Sixty years young. By the time you read this, Meekatharra School of Air (now based in Geraldton) will have celebrated its 60th anniversary.

It’s quite the milestone, especially given just under two years ago there was an attempt to close all Schools of the Air by the Labor Government.

I’d love to have been able to attend but, as often happens on stations, cows come before celebrations, so I won’t be joining everyone.

But I’m hoping to see lots of social media posts about it.

MSOTA has been a huge part of our lives, with my husband and his brothers all being students, then our three children also being part of the School of the Air family.

Thanks to our lack of family planning, I spent 20 years teaching our kids, the youngest just starting as the second headed off to boarding school.

Twenty of the most incredible, frustrating, exhilarating, tough, fun, hard and beneficial years of my life.

Now I get to sit back and watch another generation go through it.

Things change but much remains the same especially the role of the home tutor, usually Mum, teaching the kids.

I laugh at/with them and sympathise when they find it all too hard.

Two incredible women, both ex-SOTA students — Louise Linke, still teaching two of her four children, and Lara Jensen, with three littlies to join School of the Air in the near future — have compiled an incredible history of MSOTA.

This has been no easy task with so much history lost in a school fire in 2006.

What memories have evolved from trawling through past school magazines, schoolwork and photos, many of which had not seen the light of day for many years.

The haircuts and the trendy styles — and that was just the home tutors.

Trying to recall names of staff and the years they were at the school.

The reminiscing about the epic Point Peron camps, the sports day, activity days on stations and the milestones, such as the switch from radios to computers.

The staff who came and went like a will-o’-the-wisp and those whose names will never be forgotten — some for how long they stayed, and others for the impact they had on families and children.

School of the Air was, is and always will be, a unique form of education that creates an unbreakable bond.

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