Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

End of an era

A Benalla-born teacher has retired after 50 years in the profession.

February 21, 2013 4:53am

Teacher Betty Pritchard at Maiden Gully PS is retiring after 50 years of service. Photo :Bendigo Advertiser, Peter Weaving

Former Benalla resident Betty Pritchard has retired at Bendigo after a teaching career spanning 50 years.

Betty was born Elizabeth Rae Clark, the sixth daughter of Jim and Eva Clark of Benalla. She had 10 siblings and she grew up on a small dairy farm on the edge of town, attending St Joseph’s Primary School.

When Mrs Pritchard was 13 her father died of lung cancer, forcing her mother to sell the farm and move into Benalla. The family settled in Wedge St and Mrs Pritchard continued her education at FCJ College. She was responsible for getting her younger siblings to school as well as doing many other household activities while her mother worked.

It was during her time at St Joseph’s that Mrs Pritchard was inspired to become a teacher by a nun simply called ‘Mother Joan’. She was amazed at how well Mother Joan handled her Grade 6 class of up to 50 children, and of many ethnic backgrounds, with great care and discipline.

Mrs Pritchard trained at Bendigo Teachers’ College where she met her husband, Peter Pritchard. They recently celebrated 50 years of marriage.

They remained in the Bendigo area where Mrs Pritchard worked in many primary schools in the city, her final school being Maiden Gully Primary School where she taught Grade 4.

She has witnessed many changes in teaching since 1962 — a notable one being the change from chalkboards to whiteboards.

Mrs Pritchard is looking forward to spending more time with her grandchildren and travelling with her husband.

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