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Composed and shared by Ceduna Old Photos, Sue Trewartha and Erica Bodger.
In May 1925, electric lights were installed at Koonibba, including in the Children’s Home. The store, school, private residences, shed and stable are all lit up an in addition there are five street lights, giving the place a modern appearance. “1927. There were 50 boys and girls in residence at the Children’s Home. It was lunch time when the visit was made, and as the children trooped out of the school room, hurried whispers and subdued chatter — obviously discussion on the presence and peculiarities of the strangers visiting them, retarded their orderly forming into ranks and dismissal salute to the schoolmaster. Then they walked away, or stood in whispering groups, a strange mixture of shyness and curiosity, while Mr Bode was engaged in conversation. An inspection of a number of copybooks revealed some neat specimens of handwriting and of brush work, and it was learned that the children were especially fond of painting. They committed words to memory readily. Singing was a favourite recreation and songs and hymn tunes, once learned, were said to be never forgotten. It often occurred that untrained natives came to the camp to learn the songs which they had heard from station men and women on a ‘walk- about’ on the Nullarbor Plain. Conversation with some young men in a neat cottage nearby revealed that they spoke remarkably good English, and the home furnishings showed that their tastes and ideas of comfort were similar to those of any other homely community. The presence of a portable gramophone and a small collection of popular records indicated a taste for music also. These things were eloquent testimony of the value of the training received in the school and at the home. The children were at lunch when the home was inspected and they appeared happy and contented. Faces beamed with smiles, teeth shone and eyes sparkled.
The dormitories were crowded with comfortable cots and beds and in the passage leading to the bathroom a row of coats were hung, each peg labelled with a name.
The bigger boys chop the wood, carry in water, turn the wringer handle and tidy the yard. There was every indication of a happy home and well managed.”