Sunday, 10 March 2013

My Mothercraft Scrapbook 1976

I couldn't resist bringing out just one more thing from the box that time forgot.
I PROMISE I'll put it away after this!

Gee it's a little worse for wear, probably not from storage, but from shoving it into my school bag for 10 looong weeks in Grade 9 (Year 9). Actually as I'm editing this I have to wonder why I chose baby boy paper, instead of pretty pink girl paper. I definitely was a 'pink" girl back then. Maybe it was some sort of eerie insight that I was destined to have 3 boys - love you guys btw XXX

Back then, it was compulsory for every girl in Queensland State Schools to do a Mothercraft course in Grade 9, taught by a visiting Maternal and Child Health Nurse.
Apparently it then became optional in the 1980's, and I hang my head in shame as an ex State Health Records Clerk, that I can't find the year they finally ceased the classes in our schools :-(

Actually Year 9 really sucked when you think of it.
There was Mothercraft Class, with the boys stirring and jeering that they didn't have to do it, (Gentleman classes would not have gone astray for some). I think we all got the Rubella jab, the TB Heaf? immunity test, which was a stamp type skin test, and then another jab for those who had no reaction to the test. Then there were all the other teenage drama queen stuff, that came with leaving 13 and turning 14. 

With my best 1970's "Groovy" writing and my enviable artistic talent (surprising why I'm not a paid Artist now hey rofl), I happily illustrated the pages. I remember my secret weapon of choice for the cutouts was Family Circle Magazine.

And if you can read this, here's some of the things we were taught not to do in the 1970's lol.
The one thing that did become my gospel though, was routine - while our's was a bit easy going, routine saved my sanity when I had 3 children under 5 years of age. Thank you mothercraft.

Interestingly the whole procedure hadn't changed much since this newspaper article, from the Courier Mail, 11th December 1942 HERE
They were obviously a bit more driven then us, but then we had so many more distractions like TV, our own Stereo and Radio Cassette players in our rooms, and we never missed an episode of Sounds Unlimited with Donny Sutherland - Kill me now I'm sooooo old!

The State Government did take over administrating Mothercraft Classes in 1946 in Brisbane and Ipswich schools but it was close to another 20 years until they started offering classes to country schools.

 I did pass with flying colours with an E, that must mean I'm an excellent Mother - right??

If you're interested in reading a little more about the early history of the Mothercraft Association in Queensland there's a link HERE
Maybe they should bring them back!

Thanks for visiting - Jen.


  1. Excellent is what it means!! This shows the difference between Qld and NSW schools at that time (I was a 70's highschooler then too) - we didn't have any subjects like that at all - just Home Science (also known as Home Economics)- cooking and running a home!! An interesting read.

    1. We had Home Economics too, Sewing, Cooking, Nutrition. That's interesting, considering NSW was the elder State. Probably because it was started by a private organisation and then taken over by Govt. Hopefully it helped some Mothers or rather their babies lol.

  2. I did Mothercraft at school too, as well as Home Science (in Adelaide!), dressmaking (at which I failed miserably).
    I loved Mothercraft though, not that you would have known that when I struggled with my babies (particularly the first one), but hey they are both mothers now, so they are still living, so I couldn't have done too bad!

    I actually think they could do with bringing back something like that these days looking at all the young mums at Morayfield Shopping Centre and the way a couple were handling their tiny little ones!! But then again others were very loving, careful, and had nicely dressed, clean babies and 2 we saw even had bootees on, which seems to be a rarity these days! (It was Peter who picked up on the two littlies with bootees on!)

    Thanks again for the memories!!

    Karen xx

    1. Thanks for leaving the lovely comment Karen, I enjoy hearing about everyone's memories especially yours. I agree it should come back, perhaps as a section of the Home Economics course, perhaps a pre-course on contraception could be taught first though :-O. Will we be seeing each other Friday??

  3. Oh how wonderful that you still have your mothercraft book! It's so interesting that all those years ago, girls were being educated primarily to be wives (Domestic science aka Home ec)) and mothers...they really didn't expect us to work when we became different now! I still have my Domestic science notebook with my hand written recipes...which were English style stodge food and a bit of a shock to someone who ate Italian food at home! lol

    1. And now both sexes have to do home ec in year 8, I have Mum's old recipe books, not hand written, but from the 1950's/60's

  4. Great post Jen - Love your Blog site, the stories are fantastic !!!

    Yes the W'Gabba Antique Center is the best... i have been there quite a bit and bought some really great finds for the HLQ and birthday gifts for the special people in my life who love antiques...

    My study desk was from there where I sit everyday, and I just love it... an older recycled item is worth every cent :)


  5. Thanks LM2Cats I'll definitely be going back to WAC for a scrounge.
    I agree about the furniture, I found my white Dresser from "Old As" Antiques & Collectibles on the northside and it's now my favourite thing - Jen.

  6. Here in the UK, we had Home Economics (cooking) Childcare & Secretarial/Typewriting lessons. I did the first 2, but decided I was never going to be small enough or secretary shaped enough to sit on a boss's knee, so intead of typewriting, I did English lit. & loved it :o)

    It all seems like a 100 years ago, now :o(

  7. I loved reading about your mothercraft classes. We never had anything like that here in UK in the 70's. I agree it should be a compulsory course with a major emphasis on contraception early on. There are far too many young single mums here these days and all living off benefit...makes me so mad!

  8. PJK you crack me up lol, I can just see you sitting on the Boss's knee with your striped socks on, knitting instead of shorthand lol.

    We had a very rigid traditional course structure in the 70's, you did secreterial or academic. I knew I never wanted to be a secretary,so chose the other. I wanted to do Home Ec and Art right through to year 12,but it wasn't structured that way. I planned on teaching, but my options eventually led me to a very interesting job in the Public Service.

  9. Thanks Yvonne, it's so interesting hearing of other's experiences in other countries! The same problems exist here in Aus - Jen.

  10. I love your book and all your fun memories Jen!!! That is pretty cool that you chose baby boy fabric. Destiny!!!
    You put a big smile on my face today :))))
    Have a good one,

  11. Thanks dear Danette, the memories are wearing too thin now, although I was a strange teenager... I loved High School and I cried when I left - best days of my life :-)

  12. I enjoyed this post - the first time I have visited you - I was at high school in the 60s (so old now) and had to do sewing in my first year - but it was optional after that. Our school did not have a kitchen - we were an 'academic" school so we studied Latin and/or Ancient Greek. I cant believe "Mothercraft" was a subject - anywhere!! But yep - these days a "pre-mothercraft" would be an excellent idea. And the idea of giving girls & boys those electronic dolls to look after is great - surely it makes some of them think twice!

    BTW I popped over to say thank you for becoming a follower on my blog - though I am intrigued as to how you ended up on my door step!! Love your tea cosies etc.

  13. Thanks for visiting me Susan! Your school sounds intriguing. Yes those electronic dolls should be introduced, a week with them would be enough.
    I saw your avatar (similar to Maria's)over at Maria's blog (The Next Stage).Seeing you were a Bris girl as well, I had a sticky beak at your blog and fell in love with your Kangaroo baby quilt. I do sew as well,(ie Knits & Stitches)but don't put a lot of projects on the blog. Arthritis in my back, makes it impossible for me to quilt much these days, I knit instead but still stitch bags,toys etc :-).

  14. Hi Jen... I just stumbled on your blog as I was googling Mothercraft... I was in Grade 9 in Brisbane in 1973, and also still have my book... strangely enough I also covered mine in similar blue paper - and have one son! I won a Mothercraft badge for the test we did, and was Highly Commended for the book. Sadly my badge (and many other items) was stolen when our house was broken into a few years ago.
    Thank you for the memories :)

    1. So nice to hear from you, it must have been so upsetting to lose something so personal and treasured, makes me so angry! What school did you attend? Sadly my school is one of the ones up for closure by the State Govt at the moment. All those treasured memories of thousands of teenagers are at risk. xx

  15. Hello!
    I was at Kenmore High at the same time as you, loved Mothercraft, and Home Ec... So much so that I became a Home Ec teacher.

    1. Hi Jen, I was at Everton Park way on the northside. Small world though! I loved Home Ec and did very well in year 8 and 9 with very high results in the 90's. I tossed up whether I would continue doing Home Ec through to year 12, and become a teacher.. but do you know what stopped me? I didn't like the Teacher lol,so be lovely to your girls it may change their future. xx I have an old friend called Rob Bray, we all went roller skating together in the 70's, any relation Jen?


I love reading your comments, and I'm very happy to help you with any questions about my patterns. The comments are moderated only to stop spam mail coming through, so your comment will be published as soon as I get a chance to check them - thanks Jen.