Growing up Catholic in Sunshine, 1919-1927: The establishment of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Primary School: A journey in historiography


Lane, Maureen. (1999). Growing up Catholic in Sunshine, 1919-1927: The establishment of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Primary School: A journey in historiography [Thesis].
AuthorsLane, Maureen
Qualification nameMaster of Education (MEd)

This study is, in effect, the compilation and the telling of the story of the establishment of the school of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception at Sunshine, it seeks to add to the quantum of knowledge available in regard to: First - the story of that particular school's establishment, Second - its derivation from and contribution to the \vider context of the development of Catholic education in Victoria, and Third - its place in the story of the growth of a suburban community as a reflection of some of the social forces which were operating in Victoria at that time. This thesis is the result of an invitation by the writer to a number of people to collaborate in constructing the storf. These people ranged from those who, as children, attended the new school, and those whose experience of its establishment was a generation removed but who, nevertheless. claim an affinity ,with the school and its society, to those archivists, professional and otherwise, whose task or desire is to keep alive the historical foundations of our culture. It this thesis is attached to any particular school of historiography it would be closest to the Annales school as outlined in The Living Past: Western Historiographical Traditions (1975). As Andrea and Schmokel describe it, The labors of love of a group of historians associated with the journal Les Annales have produced a wealth of informative detail studies about the life styles, living standards, social values and assumptions about various social groups in all periods of French and European history. (This school) simply seeks to recover knowledge about the past as it was lived. (p.266) In the light of postmodern criticism developed since 1975, this thesis acknowledges directly the ideological base from which the author is coming.;Nevertheless, it remains within the orbit of Annales historiography in that it seeks to ""recover knowledge about the past, as it was lived"" by focussing on the thoughts, memories and deeds of people who were intimately involved in the building of the social microcosm which was and is Our Lady's School. Coming closer to home, Rob Pascoe (1979) has developed a taxonomy of Australian historiographers in his ,study, The Manufacture of Australian History. This thesis is constructed around what Pascoe calls contextual historiography. He explains contextual historiography using Sir Keith Hancock's work as an example to say that Hancock rejects the search for laws of history is to begin to define his characteristic mode of social theorizing. Hancock rejects the notion that reality can be explained by constructing rules of social structure and change which will apply across time and space and instead professes that events, persons and ideas can best be understood by locating them within their actual period and place. (p.5) This study itself is an invitation to any interested person or group to develop their knowledge of the period, geographical area or the event through the publication of oral histories. It invites others to add to their knowledge, either by expanding it or giving them the opportunity to develop different perspectives or added nuances to their current understanding and interpretation through the incorporation of new information into their thinking. In the dynamic which is history some of these people may put additional material on the public record for the inspection and possible adoption of others, including the present writer. This study is by no means meant to be prescriptive, categorical or didactic. Postmodern theory and analysis precludes this.;Rather, it is to be seen as a bridging study which has come from almost nothing due to the destruction of records by fire or the failure to collect and maintain records pertaining to school life during that time. It is to be seen as tentative because there is always the possibility that diaries or other memoranda will be unearthed as people shift house or as deceased estates are distributed. Other researchers may compile oral histories from people who have not been interviewed in this study. While it may be seen from the transcripts that the interviews compiled for this study present a consistent story with few, if any, contradictions between them, it is always possible that interviews with other people may present a different picture.

PublisherAustralian Catholic University
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Final version
Publication dates01 Jan 1999
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