Melbourne Graduate School of Education - Theses

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    The influence of Alfred Williams, and the Price ministry, on public education in South Australia
    Beare, Hedley ( 1964)
    The immediate problem confronting an education historian of the period which includes the lifetimes of Alfred Williams and Thomas Price is the paucity of other investigations on the trends and developments in South Australia at the time. While clearing, breaking the soil, and then farming my selection, I have been made continually aware that my field is a small enclave in miles of unbroken, virgin bush. As a consequence, I have had to look at the lie of the land as well as the quality of the crop, to combine as it were the two jobs of surveyor and agriculturalist. Of all the men who have been permanent heads of the State's education services, only one, John Anderson Hartley, has so far been the subject of critical research. In a State as comparatively small as South Australia, the impact of personalities on the State system is likely to provide the reasons for reform and practice, since one man here and there could in fact be the monarch in so small a kingdom. Thus as this investigation has proceeded, it has become increasingly clearer to me that there are rich areas to be examined outside my frame of reference. The influence of W.T. McCoy, a powerful Director from 1919 to 1929, must soon have to be estimated. H.J. Adey, who is often mentioned in the following pages, seems to me to have given a many-sided contribution to South Australian education, but as yet he is revered without many people knowing exactly why. Dr. Charles Fenner, as initiator of Technical Education after 1915 and then later as Director, is another who needs a just appraisal. The Directors alone, it seems to me, warrant closer attention by research scholars before the history of our State's education can properly be told. Furthermore, the mark of Dr. A.J. Schulz has been left indelibly on Teacher Training in this State if for no other reason than that he controlled the destiny of the State's only Teachers College from 1908 until 1948. My interviews with Mr. Ben Gates and Mr. Reg. West also emphasized the impression that these men were themselves the fabric of the history, for what has happened in the high schools since such schools were instituted has to a large extent been the result of the actions and policies of these men. Yet such extensive areas of research lie virtually unexplored; and without critical research there cannot be a balanced or definite account of how South Australian education has developed. (From Preface)