Inspiration for The Min-Min

Outback school

Arriving at the single-room school of the railway siding one Sunday afternoon, Mavis Thorpe Clark spoke to the young teacher about the recent vandalism by the local children:

"The school was a single-room building with a fireplace, painted cream outside, with a small room attached for the teacher. Inside, the walls were painted blue with cream trim, and good desks. As well as the cupboard there were lockers and a bookcase. The contents of all were on the floor, scattered and trampled, even the books. A bowl of Sturt's desert pea had been emptied out; there was a spreading water stain on the floor and the flowers were dying. The teacher was very disappointed. "Thought I was getting through to them...shouldn't have hived off for the week-end. Nothing for the kids to do here - means trouble. And the parents drinking..."

Then he told us that it had been his choice to be sent to this school; that it was a challenge. "Third worst school in the State - the other two at the opal fields.""

- Trust the Dream (1999) page 136.

Sylvie decides to clean up the vandalised classroom:

"The room was in chaos. Exercise books lay scattered and torn, desks upturned. The lock had been broken off (the teacher) Clive Scott's own cupboard, and his text-books, boxes of chalk, pencils, and new exercise-books had been trampled on. The vase with the bit of late Sturt pea - so prized by Mr Scott and so scarce this year - lay broken and emptied on the floor, the black eyes of the flowers dead. The water had dried leaving a stain. And there was the record-player beside it, with its front bashed in. She shivered as she looked at the record-player. Reg (her brother) had done that."

- The Min-Min (1966) page 17.

See also The Min-Min

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Illustration shows desks, chalk board, books and brief case.

Illustration from The Min-Min (1966)
Sylvie and the teacher in the school room.

Photo of Sturt Desert Pea in flower - red with black at centre.

Sturt Desert Pea, 1966