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Home Books Non-fiction Outback Teacher

Outback Teacher


By Sally Gare with Freda Marnie

A charming story of a young woman who faces challenges and finds joy teaching in outback schools.

The year is 1956. Sally Gare is twenty. She’s just out of teachers’ college, and has been sent to work at a two-teacher school more than 3000 kilometres from Perth. With the head teacher away, she starts out alone with a class of forty-five Aboriginal children, ranging in age from five years to thirteen. Thus begins the career of a remarkable teacher and a life-changing adventure in remote Australia.

Outback Teacher is the story of the challenges and delights of teaching in outback schools in the 1950s and 1960s. Sally’s interaction with her students and the local Aboriginal communities is affectionate and heart-warming, although it isn’t without its misunderstandings. But the tensions aren’t just confined to the school and the local community. Some of the characters with whom Sally shares her less than comfortable housing are as eccentric and as curiously interesting as any escapee to the outback.

Full of warmth, humour and kindness, this generous book reminds us how bush people have always found their own solutions to the problems isolation throws at them. But most importantly, and in the most personal way, it confirms how inspiring and passionate teachers can change lives.

Read Rebecca Rowlings’ review for ARR.News:
Sally’s story is a coming of age narrative set in the harsh conditions of outback Australia, surrounded by the complexities of white and black relations in the 1950s and 1960s … Sally gave her students skills they could use to survive and thrive in a world that was so rapidly changing around them.

ISBN: 9781761065347
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Pub Date: 3rd May 2022
Pages: 304
Format: Large Paperback


About the authors:

Sally Gare (Herzfeld) has been an educator since 1956. She was the principal of the Helena School in Darlington for many years and is still involved in education as part of the Alternative to Violence Project in Western Australia and the Northern Territory. Freda Marnie was taught by Sally and has worked as a rural journalist. She is the author of Love, Sweat & Tears (2013), Back of Beyond (2014) and The Amazing Mrs Livesey (2016).