Speech to Ramsgate Primary School Assembly -May 11 2012

To Principal ,




I am honoured to be in attendance today at the SRC Prefects induction ceremony.  

I am first going to talk a little about my community background ,and then to highlight a recent exciting adventure in Western Australia. 

I recently retired after 36 years as a secondary teacher of Geography , Commerce and Legal Studies. I taught  for 35 years at St George Girls High School .  For 17 years of this time I served as a Local Government Councillor , first on Rockdale Council and then on Kogarah  Council over the period  1991-2008 .

 On March 27 2012 I was honoured ,that the Hon S Moselmane tabled a Motion in the NSW Upper House. This motion congratulated me on my service to education and the local community . This is recorded in Hansard.

 I  dealt with many issues – building matters , trees , parking fines , barking dogs in  representations from residents etc . There  were lots of meetings to attend – these consisted of Council meetings, as well as Committee meetings.

 It was challenging being a community leader. I met many interesting people and  learned much about the community . It also allowed me to provide up to date information for my students – particularly in Commerce and Geography.

 Being a leader requires you to make decisions,some of which are difficult decisions.  Often you have to take a stand on issues. I was someone who was known to look at both sides of an issue and make a reasoned decision , even if I was in the minority. I was always seen by residents  as “being fair.”

 I had particular interests-the increased provision of child care ; heritage , access issues which relate to the difficulties faced in our community by people with disabilities, and urban design.

 On the issue/s I was going to speak on, in Council debate  I learned very quickly that I needed to have done my homework . I needed well researched and coherent arguments  to present to Council .

 You as school leaders will have to work together as a team .You will have different skills that you bring to your role.You will be representing  your school at functions outside of school , so how you present to the community is important.

 My late father always said to me “treat the residents how you would want to be treated .” I did , and I remained a Councillor for 17 years .

 Treat the members of the SRC with respect even though you may not agree with their point of view , or their way of doing things. Vigorous discussion usually results in a fair outcome. Always treat everyone in your team as an equal.

 In my time on Rockdale City Council and Kogarah Council , I met  people  from many walks of life.  One elderly Monterey couple I met again recently whilst shopping in Franklins, Ramsgate – we were delighted to renew our acquaintance. Yesterday at lunch on the beach front in Brighton Le Sands I renewed acquaintances with a well known restaurant  owner .  One lovely old man , Ray Cunningham , who had lived in O ‘ Connell Street Monterey for many years , influenced me in the early 1990’s, to begin my research on Moorefield Racecourse.

 Moorefield Racecourse was in  operation from 1888- 1951 and played a huge role in the social and sporting life of Kogarah.  It was located on the site of James Cook Boys High School , Moorefield Girls , St George Tafe and the residential area behind it  and Kogarah Golf course was in the middle.

 I have written 2 chapters, and now it is my task to continue with my research so that ultimately I can publish this material .

 I am now going to talk about my recent adventure. As a leader you need to often think outside the square, and this is what I did in respect of my  recent personal adventure in Western Australia.

 On March 12 1912 my Scottish Grannie left London to sail to Sydney  to get married. She was in the Indian Ocean when the Titanic sank . I have her 100 year old  log which provided latitude , longitude and weather conditions . Bless my Grannie for this important information.  

 I decided to think outside the square as to how I could honour my Grannie. I  flew to Albany in Western Australia to be there  100 years to the day that my Grannie sailed by . I wanted to put a bottle out to sea with a message in it. I  chose Albany as it would provide a good current – hopefully my bottle might end up in South America in a few years time ……

 This exercise took a lot of planning. I was taken out into the Southern Ocean by an around the world yachtsman, who had put a bottle overboard at Cape Horn 3 years ago . His bottle  surfaced earlier this year on a South Australian beach , coincidentally an area where  he learned to sail as a young man . Recently, he formally handed it over to a South Australian Museum  – it had been found on the beach by an elderly man, who went for a scuba dive each day  and this man knew his Aunt in the nearby town. Coincidences….

 I went 60 nautical miles out to sea  on April 19 2012 – 100 years to the day that my Grannie sailed by . I  made it to 36 degrees South – my Grannie sailed south at almost 45 degrees . It was rough at 36 degrees South – a 4 metre swell . I can only imagine what it was like for our early immigrants, who had to brave such treacherous conditions. Our early immigrants  were very brave people.

 The  bottle was prepared for its long journey ahead .  My Grannie’s history was wrapped around a pencil ,placed inside an air tight sandwich bag , and tartan ribbon placed in the top of the bottle., then the bottle was screwed tight . It was wrapped in a plastic shopping bag and then wrapped in a strong tape. It was ready for its journey ……

 At 10am Western Australian time on April 19 2012,after I read a verse of Scottish poetry , I put the bottle overboard south of West Cape Howe , the most Southerly point in  Western Australia.  I enclosed my contact details on the note inside the bottle – I will have to wait now to see where and if it surfaces…….. this will be exciting when it is found.

 Leaders exercise resourcefulness, they are forward thinking and they always use the talents of the people around them.

 I am certain that the SRC body for 2012 will have those skills and achieve much for your school in their term of office.

 I take this opportunity to wish the SRC well and to encourage all students to work very hard in this 2012 school year.


Anne Field




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