A great teachers’ advocate living in “tiger country”, Frank Catt was fearless in ensuring working conditions for teachers and learning environment for students were fair and adequate. Frank died on the 18 October, aged 78.
He started at Chatham High in 1965 and moved to Taree High for a substantial time from 1968 to 1986. It was at these schools and through his membership of the Manning River Teachers Association that Frank began to make his mark on the union movement.
As a President and Councillor of this association, Frank was unafraid to take action when necessary to keep up standards. When the Department needed to be embarrassed by media exposure to ensure safety in schools, Frank was prepared to make it happen.
He was instrumental in establishing the Manning River Trades and Labour Council in the late 1970s and saw the exploitation of labour first hand. Fighting the campaigns for smaller class sizes put him at the forefront of arguments with local Nationals politicians at public forums. It took an activist of strong heart to stand up for his beliefs in these situations, which he described as surviving in “tiger country”.
As head teacher at Melville High, Frank served as Councillor for Macleay River Teachers Association for 10 years. He was also made a Life Member of the Macleay River Association.
Frank was the type of Federation activist and leader who provided a cool head and experienced direction in times of crisis.
This is an edited version of the condolence given at October Council