Historical information

This book is one of the series of Royal Readers (Scotland) introduced into schools in Victoria in 1877 to replace the Irish Readers. They were in use until the 1920s and at first contained mostly British material (as does this copy which has no Australian content and features many articles on animals). By the late 19th century the Royal Readers used in Victoria contained some Australian material and it is presumed that this copy is an early edition. The Bonnett families were associated with farming in the Mepunga area and Jessie Edith Bonnett, the daughter of Frederick Bonnett and Charity Bonnett (nee Phillips) was born in Allansford in 1897. Jessie Bonnett spent her life on the family farm at Mepunga and was the last of the Bonnett families in that area. Mepunga East State School was established in 1886 with Ruth Broadway as the first Head Teacher. It has now closed.


This book, though tattered, is of interest as an example of the Royal Readers used by pupils in Victorian schools in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It is also important as a book belonging to Jessie Bonnett, a member of the Bonnett family of farmers in the Mepunga area. The Warrnambool and District Historical Society holds in its collection some other items that belonged to Jessie Bonnett, including an important World War One scrapbook

Physical description

This is a hard cover book of 186 pages. The cover was originally a dark blue-green colour but it is much faded and is now almost detached from the binding. The spine and several pages at the beginning and the end are missing. The text contains many black and white illustrations and some have been coloured in. Some of the pages are torn and stained. There is much scribble on the front and back covers. The inscriptions are handwritten in black ink.

Inscriptions & markings

‘Jessie Edith Bonnett, Mepunga East State School No. 2762’