Newspaper article News Mail Bundaberg Qld.

A Life Devoted to Education

Newspaper article News Mail Bundaberg Qld.

A Life Devoted to Education

Article excerpt

Mike Derry

IN THE 1950s and 1960s, two former Bundaberg boys changed the face of education in Queensland.

Herbert George Watkin received only six months training as a teacher before he was appointed a pupil teacher at Bundaberg East State School in 1912 at the age of 13.

He signed up for service in the First World War and served overseas with the First AIF.

When he returned to Australia he served as head teacher at Bundaberg West and several other schools in the area.

In 1930 he went overseas again and taught in several schools under the London County Council.

When he returned to Australia he became a lecturer at the Queensland Teachers College.

He was later appointed as principal of Rockhampton High School, after which he became an inspector of education.

Later he was appointed principal of Brisbane State High School for five years and in 1952 he became Queensland's Director General of Education.

In 1953 he became Deputy Chancellor of the University of Queensland.

Mr Watkin worked closely with another former Bundaberg boy, Jack Charles Allan Pizzey, who was the Country Party Minister for Education after 1957.

Together the two of them tackled the enormous challenges to education brought about by the "baby boom" and the influx of immigrants.

The state was lucky that Mr Pizzey had the background in education to argue convincingly and with authority on educational issues while Mr Watkin gathered the department's views and worked with Mr Pizzey.

Mr Watkin later headed the 1960 Committee of Inquiry into Secondary Education in Queensland.

The committee made widespread recommendations for change which led to the 1964 Education Act.

Boards were also set up to control junior secondary studies and senior secondary studies.

Mr Watkin's long career ended when he retired in 1965.

He was later knighted for his services to education.

Sir Herbert died in 1966.

However, he almost had a high school in Bundaberg named after him. …

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