Embracing our past and looking to future

Kim Richards
Centenary project manager

Artist Birgitte Hansen will design our banner

The union’s centenary in 2018 is an opportunity to highlight the historic contribution Federation has made to uplifting teacher professionalism, highlighting the role of teachers in society, to emphasising the critical importance of public education and the need to ensure its universal access, as well as showcasing Federation’s commitment to internationalism and the labour movement.

Reflecting on the past 100 years offers a unique lens through which to view the history of education and the contribution of teachers in NSW.

It is an opportunity to affirm who we are as a professional organisation and how we got here. It is also an opportunity to mark out our path forward.

There are a number of projects anticipated for 2018.

  • On Wednesday, 26 September 1918, the decision to unite various teachers associations into the NSW Teachers Federation was made at a meeting in Castlereagh Street. This same building, and on this same day in 2018, will host a special centenary event.
  • Federation plans to reinvigorate the “Teachers make a Difference” campaign to provide members with the validation they deserve for their personal and professional commitment to Australian education.
  • In 2016, Federation committed to a documentary film about the history of Aboriginal education in NSW, and the contributions made by Federation. This is nearing completion, with a launch earmarked for the Aboriginal Members Conference on May 19.
  • Members are at the heart of the union and its achievements over the past 100 years. A statewide Centenary Picnic Day is planned for Term 4, 2018, so that local associations across NSW can join the celebration and reaffirm Federation’s commitment to their communities and the members of the NSW teaching profession.
  • The 2018 annual conference will also extend the centenary celebrations to include the largest decision-making body of the union.
  • The Centenary Conference Dinner will be held in Sydney Town Hall to accommodate a special guest list of Life Members, associated bodies and dignitaries.
  • Federation will run three competitions in film, literature and art. These competitions will be launched in Term 1 and be judged in time for award presentations at the Centenary Conference Dinner.
  • Federation Library has been working on a project with the Australian National Library to digitise the journal from 1919 to the present day. This rich, chronological history will be preserved in a searchable format, accessible online to all members, historians and interested parties.
  • Federation has commissioned a marching banner by artist Birgitte Hansen that reflects the history and values of the union.
  • Federation has commissioned an academic research piece centred on multicultural and refugee education. It is envisaged this research will inform a practical and pedagogical teaching resource. The project will be completed by Term 4, 2018.
  • In the 1980s a series of articles was published in a booklet that highlighted the contributions of women. As part of the centenary, Federation will publish an updated booklet, celebrating an additional 30 years of women in the union. It is anticipated that this booklet will be launched at the Women’s Conference in August.
  • Significant objects, images, family heirlooms and stories related to Federation, education and teaching will be documented and conserved in the process of developing the 100 Years of Teacher Unity exhibition, to be curated by Susan Charlton. The exhibition will be held in the Sydney CBD around September before being relocated in part to Teachers Federation House in Surry Hills, with the possibility of a statewide tour. The work involved in creating the exhibition will identify, document and conserve significant objects, images, family heirlooms and stories.

Federation would like to hear from any members who wish to contribute their personal narratives, objects, photographs or even their time to these centenary projects. Initial contact should be made by emailing us here.