Federation University Australia Historical Collection (Geoffrey Blainey Research Centre), Mount Helen
Black and white image of an illumination for the retirement of A W Steane. Written in calligraphy and signed by the President and Secretary of the Old Boys' Association. Dated March 19th 1942
Albert Steane was born at Sandhurst (now known as Bendigo) in 1877. He attended the Gravel Hill State School until the fourth class, then transferred to the Central School 1876 where he gained the Merit Certificate.
The monitor system of teacher training had been introduced and he passed fourth, third, second and first class pupil teacher. At about 16 years of age he was appointed a teacher monitor at 12 pounds per annum.
Albert Steane was awarded the Teachers' Certificate of Competency in 1897. The teaching of woodwork in Victoria began in 1901 and Steane was chosen, among 18 others for the inaugural training course at Queensberry State School in Melbourne. Steane was known for the teaching of Sloyd or woodwork, which was an important point in his career. He opened the Sloyd (woodwork) Centre in 1902 at the Ballarat East Art School (later known as the Ballarat East Free Library) at the School of Mines and Industries Ballarat (SMB).
In 1913 Albert Steane, the young head of the East Ballarat Sloyd Centre, was appointed to establish a junior technical school in Ballarat becoming the first headmaster of the Ballarat Junior Technical School.
Steane's lifelong interest in gymnastics brought him as much fame as his reputation as a headmaster. He organised the Education Department's gymnastics display at Bendigo's Golden Jubilee Exhibition in 1902. He played a major role in the establishment of the Ballarat Y.M.C.A. and from 1906 responsible for evening classes in physical culture. In 1968, aged 91, he was made a Life Member of the Association.
Steane was in complete command of his school, his staff and students. It must be remembered that schooling was not as permissive, tolerant and informal as today.
A.W. Steane retired in 1942 after 29 years as Headmaster of Ballarat Junior Technical School. Many visible memorials are evident of his time and influence on the growth of the Junior Tech. A good school also lives on in the memories and affections of its old boys. Many remained in touch to talk about "the old days". A simple lesson he taught was "Win Through". No matter what path was chosen by the students, many were true to his teaching. On his retirement, Mr Jeffery was appointed the new Headmaster.
On 19 March 1942, a farewell meeting was held presided over by Mr Jeffery. Those present included A.F. Heseltine, G. Netherway (representing the Old Boys' Association), N. McHuthchinson (District Schools' Inspector), G.A. Simcock (High School), E. Youlden (Pleasant Street State School), and J.A. Ewins (Citizens' Representative).
The following presentations were made:
G Netherway - nickel-plated smokers' stand with the Old Boys' badge
A Robinson - an illuminated scroll (B&W photograph above)
C Jeffery - lounge room clock with inscribed silver plate
Steane died, aged 93 years, on 13 July 1970, at Sydney, leaving his widow Grace Elliott Steane and children Eric and Violet.
Inscriptions & Markings
Signatures of H Daykin, President and Alan Robinson, Secretary of the Ballarat Junior Technical School Old Boys' Association.
Dated March 19th 1942.