The Mandurah Community Museum has developed around the old Mandurah State Schoolhouse. The main room of little brick building is still furnished as a schoolroom. Its displays include photographs and other materials associated with education about the time of the Great War. In one corner a music book stands open in a perspex case, a large sign providing details of the wartime experiences of its former owner.
Nearby is an old ‘class’ photograph of all of the students of the school together with their headmaster, Robert Dalrymple. A native of Belfast (Ireland), after having been trained as a teacher in Dublin he taught in various places in Australia. Taken in 1916, the photograph is contemporary with the war effort fundraising activities of his wife, Dorothy Dalrymple.
Dorothy Dalrymple taught needlework and music, but is also remembered today for her considerable effort for charities, especially her music-making, in support of the Belgian Relief Fund. Children referred to her affectionately as ‘the old brick’, a nickname bestowed because of her terracotta-red hair. After a shaky start in teaching when she was criticised for the quality of her needlework, she moved to Mandurah in 1899. The Mandurah Community Museum researchers note that by ‘1903 she was receiving very complimentary remarks both for her own and her students’ work’.
Her music book stands open at a piece for piano entitled ‘The dancing girl’ by Charles Coote – a waltz she almost certainly played in her programmes of dances. Many of her charitable events were held in a hall that stands next to the museum, once a part of a police barracks.
Dorothy Dalrymple raised more than £500 from ‘war work’ and in 1918 received a commendation. She inspired her students to assist with this activity, and their contribution is noted in reports of her charitable work. A major part of her individual effort went into playing the piano at musical events such as dances and concerts, which she organised and managed. She continued with her teaching and charitable activities until her death in 1937.
Numerous resources, book and objects can be sourced at:
Mandurah Community Museum
3 Pinjara Road
Mandurah WA 6210
Phone: 08 9757 3343