Gibson, Faith (4 of 17). Oral History of Oral History
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2011-03-10, 2011-07-21, 2011-09-20, 2012-03-22
Newtownabbey, Northern Ireland
Gibson, Faith, 1931- (speaker, female)
Wilkinson, Robert (speaker, male)
Part 4: Visits to Tamworth town. Mythology of living in rural areas in Australia. Another aunt and her invalid husband came to live there too. He died in 1940s and they returned to Tamworth for his funeral. Describes her fathers work on the farm. Horses on the farm were purely for show mechanised. Aunt did all the cooking. [07:13] Moved to another job in 1939 as a Singer Sewing Machine agent in Moree, 150 miles away. Recalls how she fixed a colleagues sewing machine. Her father used to collect money for machines bought on hire purchase from the women in Aboriginal camp. He bought a Buick car to travel around. [13:00] Describes Moree. School ended at 14 at the Intermediate Certificate. Only Junior Red Cross for young people as a result of the War. Making camouflage nets. [16:00] Presbyterians, her father used to drive the Minister on a Sunday. Anti Catholic, very little mixing in terms of shared worship. [19:11] Impact of war on kids. Her father was not medically fit. Fall of Singapore and influx of refugees locally. Bomb shelter in the garden. [23:00] She was keen to stay at school until 16 for Matriculation. Had to move to Armidale, 160 miles away. Father became a stock and station agent, then into selling property very successful. He used to act as a Bank for the farm workers to stop them drinking their wages away. Impacted on Faith as a public service. [29:08] Mother opened a small shop, which her father used as a base for his Singer work. Describes their house and let a bedroom out to get more income. Faith going off to school was a big family sacrifice. Brother apprenticed as an electrician. Sister went to Sydney to train as a nurse. Brother later matriculated at Tamworth. Ended up as a commercial pilot. [34:00] Faith stayed at a hostel as they could not afford a boarding school. Describes local education establishments. She travelled by train. Armadale had snow in winter. [40:00] Father never had the confidence to branch out on his own. Very caring father. When she went to university she realised what efforts their parents had made to help with her education. Rubbed off on her. Girls came from all over that part of Australia. There were 40-50 girls in the hostel. Matriculation and subjects studied. Could not do medicine subsequently as she was the only girl wanting to do physics. Inadequacies of teaching at Moree. Armidale High School had excellent teaching. She needed a new career choice. She already had problems with her voice. She thought about social work. Child Welfare Dept offered Public Service cadetships. This paid for university and Faith was awarded a cadetship at age of 16 . Four years at university and five subsequent years employment commitment. She found board and lodgings in Sydney. This was in 1948. There were lots of ex servicemen on the courses. [56:30] Working holidays in childcare institutions. Mentions Parramatta Girls Training School. Punitive system and limitations on what was on offer to these girls. Faith co-opted into system. Some Aboriginal girls. Discussion about Australian education system and how the degree worked. [1:09:126] Opted for a teacher qualification in addition to Arts and Social Studies. She did not tell the Child Welfare sponsoring department. She owned up in the final year. There was an intake of less than ten each year for cadetships. [1:15:08] She initially worked in the central office as a clerk. She then worked at a child guidance clinic at the Dept of Health and Mental Hygiene. Worked with Dr Sabire one of the leading child psychiatrists in New South Wales. This was a temporary appointment. She then went to Ashfield Child Guidance Clinic. She did court reports. Then returned to the Child Welfare Dept. Told the Director she was unhappy. [1:20:30] She got a job at the University of Queensland at the expense of giving up her superannuation. Worked under Freddie Schonell, Professor of education. Part clinical remedial work. Freddie Schonell became a millionaire through publishing educational materials. Mentions an earlier research job in Sydney that she did at Glenfield ESN School on outskirts of Sydney. She interviewed former children. Found out men who had done better, had married women who were not disabled. Women who did not marry had been over-protected. Mostly people with Downs Syndrome.
Life story interview with Faith Gibson, Emeritus Professor of social work at the University of Ulster.