Leigh Rowney, Scone

Mrs Ada Dellar

I attended Scone Public School and Scone High School in the 1960s and 1970s before attending the University of New England, Armidale to study Arts and Education with a NSW Teacher Education Scholarship from 1977 to 1980. (I benefitted from the legacy of the Gough Whitlam Federal Government policy to attract clever kids into teaching).

As a young person growing up, I was inspired by most of my teachers, but particularly by a Mrs Ada Dellar. She was a music teacher who taught music primarily to Years 7 and 8 (1st and 2nd form then) but her passion for music extended to a career-long dedication to the tradition of the School Musical. At the age of 13 I was cast in a significant role (not the lead) in "Finian's Rainbow" (Rogers and Hammerstein I think). This was an old fashioned musical with a wonderful message about tolerance, change, community, and celebrating the human spirit. This is what most musicals do, I guess.

At the age of 15 I was cast in the lead of "The Pajama Game", another traditional musical with a political edge: workplace relations and the rights of workers. Mrs Ada Dellar directed both of these and many others before and after my period of attending school, until she eventually retired from years of service to public education. I aspired to a career in teaching and it was the confidence Ada Dellar gave me as a singer and actor (and a public speaker and debator )that enabled me to gain entry into the B.A. Drama program at UNE, which I completed concurrently with a Diplloma in Secondary Education (Drama / English).

I have been teaching in NSW government schools since 1982, in Sydney South West region primarily, first as a classroom Drama and English teacher (20 years), then as a Head Teacher Creative and Performing Arts (8 years) and now as a Deputy Principal, (soon to commence my 3rd year in the role). I have almost come full circle since my current school is Scone High School, where it all began for me.

Ada Dellar is still alive and, at 93, relatively well, having moved to the mid-north coast of NSW to live. When I received my promotion to the DP job at Scone HS,commencing 2011, she sent a word of congratulations to me, via bush telegraph - the usual means in a smallish rural community. I owe the chance to begin my teaching journey and a life of considerable professional pleasure and reward to her and her like.

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