Wednesday, May 20, 2015


Once again searching through Trove I found this letter that my mother had written with regard to mentally handicapped children.  It was published in The West Australian on Monday 30 June, 1952 (63 years ago).


Sir - We note with interest that a very necessary survey is to be made of physically handicapped children and we feel that it is very important we should also have a complete record of the mentally handicapped children in the State.  Any information given to the Slow Learning Children's Group would of course be treated as extremely confidential.

To enable plans to be made for the assistance that could be given these children in social adjustment and specialised training to fit them to take their place in sheltered workshops and the community, it is necessary for parents to communicate with us, no matter what degree of retardedness their child may have.  The record sought is for all mentally handicapped children under school age, going to school, and of girls and boys in their teens.  We ask parents and friends to make contact with the Secretary of the Slow Leaning Children's Group, 96 Northwood Street, West Leederville (phone *W38211).

Yours etc.

In her book mum omitted talking about the number of letters she wrote to publications seeking help with the many organisations with which she was involved.

*I was looking at that telephone number and thinking back to how few numbers they contained back in 1952, and that letter prefix too.  Now our landline telephone has NINE numbers and our mobile TEN!!!    Things were so simple back then but these days our memories are really tested having to remember lengthy numbers or do you all have them stored in your iPhone is similar device..


  1. Yet another area where she was ahead of her time.

    1. I saw on TV today about a band made up of mentally retarded people (they were very good) and thought then how far society has come in giving those people a life. To think that 60 years ago they were often placed in mental asylums doesn't bear thinking about.

  2. My two legged sister is a very dedicated special education Teacher. She loves those kids so much. Mum remembers those early phone number days. Life was so simple then. She does, however, now store numbers in her iphone but does remember all her frequently dialled numbers and dials them manually. Some of the young ones don't even do that!!

    1. That is good to hear Charlie. I have a granddaughter who was in a special ed class at school and they looked after her very well.
      I don't have an IPhone or anything like that so have my own address book/telephone directory sitting next to my landline. I do have a few programmed into that phone though but still remember lots of numbers. Older people are good at that.

  3. Hari OM
    Another great letter.... despite an appalling memory for much, numbers, for some reason, stay with me... that said, I do tend to store them - simply because the facility is there to do so I suppose!!! YAM xx

    1. I replied before but it wouldn't publish so trying again.
      I have a good memory for numbers...up to 10...but not for names although that is normal for older people and sometimes with the not so old too.
      I have found out how to store numbers in our new mobile phone but only store a couple as we seldom use it and rely on our landline to make calls from home. xx

  4. I remember shorter phone numbers, although we didn't have a phone until I was married and expecting baby #3, living in Sydney. But as a child I remember a phone box on almost every block and only the rich had their own home phone.
    These days if one wanted to carry a diary with all the numbers needed it would require a wheelbarrow to cart it around. Thank heavens for mobiles etc that are capable of storing all those numbers.

    1. I think some numbers were even shorter than that but perhaps before my time.
      We didn't have a phone till after Steve was born in 1957 and not sure when exactly it was.
      I have my own address/telephone book with all numbers and addresses written out and updated regularly. I do store important numbers into our landline but as we seldom use the mobile I only store my daughter's number in there plus the RAC in case of car trouble. Normally we wouldn't make calls from our mobile unless Phil calls me when he is out. I think he dials that manually anyway. As you can see we really are a couple of old fogies.

  5. The more I read about you mom, the more I realize what an extraordinary woman she was. Like Sue said, she was way ahead of her time.

    In the early fifties, we had a two-letter phone exchange, followed by five numbers. (Which really meant nothing, because our ATwater exchange translated to the numbers 2 and 8.) Most everybody I knew was on a party line back then, too. Not good if the other folks on the line were nosy busy-bodies...

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