1960s rewards in Infants

Dianne Robertson and Robyn Minard attended North Ryde Public School in the 1950s and 1960s. In this oral history they recount their memories of receiving their favourite rose stamp.

Personal best

Everyone loves to be rewarded for their actions especially when learning or embracing new tasks at school. In the 1960s our teachers were constantly on the lookout for hardworking students who took pride in their work, be it written or oral, and who consistently strove to achieve. Today we would call it ‘doing your personal best!’.

Some rewards were as little as a comment or a smile, a tick in our books or a red star.

Rose stamp

However, the most celebrated reward was a beautiful stamp of a remarkable rose. It lived on the teacher’s desk beside the stamp pad. We called it the ‘rose stamp’.

An inked impression of the treasured and envied rose stamp was placed by the teacher straight into our workbooks or onto our test papers. It always made the page look amazing and put a smile on our face.

The ultimate reward to Dianne and Robyn in their infants grades was a rose stamp, stamped here on Dianne’s 2nd Grade yearly test in 1962. (Personal collection of D Robertson.)

Stamp on the hand

However, the rose stamp had other applications. If deserved, we would receive the ultimate reward whereby the teacher gently pressed the rose stamp onto the back of our hand leaving a beautiful rose imprint. This could be easily seen by all your friends.

Dianne achieved full marks for her 2nd Grade arithmetic test in 1962 and was rewarded with her favourite rose stamp. (Personal collection of D Robertson.)

Girls’ Deputy Headmistress

We do remember the teacher sending us to see the Girls’ Deputy Headmistress. Her name was Mrs Pemberton. Walking proudly, and as a mark of respect, we knocked on her office door and waited in anticipation to be asked to enter her office.

It certainly was an honour to walk up the many sets of stairs that led to her office, and because we were only young, the stairs looked enormous! But still worth the climb.

After a well-deserved formal chat, Mrs Pemberton gently pressed the rose stamp onto the back of our hand. That rose took pride of place. It looked just perfect! 

We were always so delighted with ourselves. It was the best day at school as we paraded the playground with a beaming smile and a rose on the back of our hand.

Questions and activities for students

  • What parts of this story can you relate to? Why?
  • What term is used today instead of ‘headmistress’? Why did it change?
  • What is your favourite reward for good work?

Activity

  • Compose a recount of your proudest time at school when you were rewarded for good work.