61. School of the Air - 1956

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The School of the Air was established in Broken Hill by the NSW Education Department in 1956. It was the first school of this kind in Australia, founded to educate children living in remote areas by broadcasting from this site.  

Lessons were transmitted through two-way radios or telephone lines, via the Royal Flying Doctor Service radio network, to outback areas of far western NSW. 

Mrs Phyllis Gibb was the first teacher in NSW to broadcast lessons via the School of the Air. She developed the teaching methods that made remote learning possible and overcame the inevitable technical hurdles that existed before there was a communication infrastructure connecting outback NSW with learning centres within Broken Hill. Phyllis Gibb set assignments for students to complete and send back to the school. She occasionally visited students and their families to provide individual support and changed the lives of many isolated children. 

The system was a success and is still in operation today, along with many other ‘schools of the air’ in outback regions of Australia.

Audio transcript available.