I left home at age 12 to go to boarding school in Adelaide.
Orroroo, where I lived at the time and Adelaide are only three hours drive apart, which really isn’t that far when you think about it. But the world I changed to from Orroroo was as far wide and different, as if I’d moved to Antarctica!
All of our family went to boarding school. My two older cousins and I went to MLC, which changed to Annesley College during the years Tanya was at school while my other two cousins went to PAC and my brother and sister to Westminster College. The single sex school was an interesting experience and I have to say that I think my brother and sister had a nicer time at boarding school all round with the co-ed school they attended.
My cousin, Tanya Heaslip has written her account of the time she spent at boarding school.
Beyond Alice, is the third in Tanya’s memoir series and it’s a great read – it brought back many, many memories for me and will for many people who’ve attended school away from home too. Being sent away to school, when you’re a farm or station kid, is pretty traumatic. We go from being free, and having space, to high walls and what can seem like stupid rules. But there are many, may great things; the friends we make for one.
And see that little girl hanging off the gate on the cover? That’s me!
Here’s the blurb:
BEYOND ALICE (Click the title to pre order).
From the happiness and freedom of her bush childhood, Tanya Heaslip is sent to a boarding school sixteen hundred kilometres away from everything and everyone she loves. As these years pass surrounded by the friends she makes, Tanya’s memoir is a humorous and inspiring story of strength, resilience and the realities of Australian outback life.
‘A tender, raw and beautiful coming-of-age adventure, that forces Tanya to pivot between the vast freedom of desert life, and the rigid expectations of city boarding school. From start to finish Beyond Alice is beguiling!’ Renee McBryde, bestselling author of The House of Lies
In 1975, twelve-year-old Tanya Heaslip leaves her isolated home in outback Australia and is sent sixteen hundred kilometres south to a girls’ boarding school for an education the bush can’t provide.
The freedom of her young life gives way to an unfriendly world of stone and concrete, high walls, small skies, uniforms, harsh words and endless rules that make no sense.
In common with many children of the outback, Tanya struggles to adjust to boarding school. Yet, over time, her fellow boarders become her new family and Tanya survives both by writing, and by telling her stories of family, race meetings, gymkhanas, campdrafts and stock camps to her loyal friends.
Tanya’s pain of losing family and the trauma of dislocation are ultimately transformed into five life-changing years. She emerges stronger and more resilient, now determined to carve out her own life.
Warm, humorous and uplifting, this is the story of a small girl who triumphs.