Friday, May 1, 2015


I have no idea when the following took place but I have kept everything in sequence so I guess it happened after mum's 'accident" when she was once again back on her feet, so to speak.

Excerpt from 'THE CLOCK OF TIME' by Gertrude Ruston.  (pp 209-210)


The establishment of a School of Social Work at the University of Western Australia was viewed with some misgiving by many of the welfare bodies whose voluntary workers had given their services for many years to help people in need in the community.

Probably due to my long practical experience in social work, Mrs Teddy Stockbridge, of the University Department of Social Studies, asked me to speak to her students towards the end of their courses, and I was very pleased and honoured to accept the invitation.

The students were mostly very young and attractive and had, of course, all the theoretical knowledge that we of the older generation lacked, as there was no such thing as a school of social studies in our day.

I told these young people that I envied their ability to enter a well paid field of work, but expected they might find many practical problems associated with the handicapped, families, children, teenagers, young people and the aged which would call upon all their tolerance and understanding.

Years of practical experience alone had taught us to handle many of these cases and yet had to face up to challenges a they arose.

Among other things, I remember telling them that when, like me, they had grey hair, they would probably look back and feel satisfied that their chosen profession had enabled them to do so much for so many people.

I was delighted when Teddy rang me and told me she had obtained her doctorate and was now Dr Teddy Stockbridge, Ph.D., and congratulated her very sincerely.

She asked me to make a tape for her, telling how I had gone about starting my various organisations, all of which had been necessary and had succeeded.  I remember her coming to my home with her tape recorder and bombarding me with questions so that she could register the answers.  We spent two or three hours together while she probed for the details she wanted.

Teddy did not appear to be too well, but I had no idea that she was seriously ill, and when she died a short time later it was a great shock and a sad loss to social welfare.  We needed her practical understanding of social work which is still missing in so many of our graduates."

I can remember mum being very upset when she learned of the death of this wonderful woman.


  1. Hari OM
    OOhhhh, I wonder where those recordings are now???

    I also wonder if any of those youngsters have now got their own grey hair and experience and are wondering at the idealism of a new set of graduates full of fine theory and 'do-gooderness'..??!! YAM xx

    1. I would imagine those recordings are long gone, more's the pity.
      I guess each generation has it's own idea of how things should be run and/or done. Theory is fine and necessary but there is nothing like experience in the long term. xx

  2. "Among other things, I remember telling them that when, like me, they had grey hair, they would probably look back and feel satisfied that their chosen profession had enabled them to do so much for so many people."

    How true! Your mother was a very wise woman, wasn't she?

    1. Yes Susan she was a very wise woman. I often wish I'd been endowed with such wisdom as she had.
      Thank you so much for paying a visit and your comment.

  3. So this would be the first instance of trained Social Workers in Australia?
    Would they know more with the book learning? Or is the practical experience a better teacher? I'd say the practical, but with a few hints on how to handle certain situations via books would be an excellent grounding.
    (Too many people these days rely too heavily on book learning, the "forever" students who never get any practical experience)

  4. I am not sure about being the first trained social workers in Oz but obviously the first in W.A. as at that time there was only one university here.
    You are so right in your comment re 'forever' students. I think a good combination of theory along with the knowledge that comes with experience is the best.
    When mum and her colleagues set out they did what they felt was best for all concerned and, without any theory, I think on the whole they did a darned good job.