A lifetime of teaching
“I’VE always believed every child’s capable of learning, and every child’s an individual.”
That might be the educational philosophy that best sums up Rosemary Lewis, and she should know, having spent close to 50 years in the heart of learning.
Mrs Lewis retired at the end of last year following 14 years as principal of Casterton Primary School, but her career was largely spent in her hometown of Portland, as well as briefer but memorable and almost unbelievable stints elsewhere.
She returned to Portland earlier this year with husband, retired journalist Ian Lewis, and recently reflected on a lifetime of teaching, and the changes she has seen.
Mrs Lewis is the daughter of Bill and Betty Jenkin, her family having run newsagencies in Portland for more than 50 years since her grandparents arrived in 1920 and set up on Bentinck St, opposite Mac’s Hotel, on what used to be called Yankee Doodle corner.
Her elder brother Frank was born before World War II, in which her father and uncle served, the latter dying in Grafton after being evacuated from Singapore.
Bill returned safely and Rosemary was born in 1949, followed by sister Elizabeth in 1951.
While the Jenkin family name was synonymous with the newsagency business in Portland, young Rosemary had different plans.
“I always wanted to be a teacher from a young girl as there were a lot of teachers in my family,” she said.
After attending Portland Primary School and Portland High School, she finished her secondary schooling at Methodist Ladies College in Melbourne.
“They sent me to Melbourne so I would be used to living away from home,” Mrs Lewis said.