Document Type



Edith Cowan University

Place of Publication

Churchlands, Western Australia


Hunt, L., & Trotman, J. (2002) Claremont cameos: women teachers and the building of social capital in Australia. Churchlands, Australia: Edith Cowan University.


The centenary of Edith Cowan University is a significant event in the history of Western Australia: it celebrates the opening of the State's first tertiary institution, Claremont Teachers' College, in 1902. Being a primary teachers' college, most of its students were young women. This book, Claremont Cameos, tells their story. It is a storyline that stretches from the 'Stolen Generation' of Aboriginal children to Freud; it touches on the discovery of rare orchids and recounts the development of a fashion empire. Environmentalism, feminism, discrimination, resistance and commitment form part of the fabric of the book. The women's stories are powerful, whimsical, intelligent and funny. Together they make a good read that traverses the history of education in this State. In so doing, the stories encompass important themes in twentieth century history including rural expansion, the Great Depression, World War II, and post-war migration. Most importantly, in ECU's centenary year, Claremont Cameos highlights the contribution its graduates have made to the social capital of Australia. These women started special education, secured equal pay for women teachers, wrote internationally recognised novels, poems and plays, initiated child psychology, started alternative schools, worked with migrant groups, developed domestic violence refuges, and became leaders in local government. This dynamic patchwork of achievement is the century-old foundation of cultural capital on which ECU's contemporary mission of service, professionalism and enterprise stands. Since 1902, ECU has been Western Australia's major provider of teacher education. There would be few people in the State whose lives have not in some way been influenced by a teacher who trained at ECU. This is your story, as well as theirs.