Unity! Strength! Justice! 

As World War I was drawing to a close 100 years ago and an influenza epidemic was the new international threat on the horizon, a group of determined women and men from several New South Wales teachers’ associations gathered together in Sydney and confirmed their intention to become the one union.

On 24 September 1918, classroom teachers officially united with head mistresses and headmasters to become the NSW Public School Teachers’ Federation. Together they recognised that with unity comes strength in the fight for social justice on behalf of their students, schools, communities and teaching profession. The campaigning continues.

Today the NSW Teachers Federation is nearly 60 000 strong and still stands for the same principles it has fought for over the last 100 years — support for the essential work of teachers in society, funding justice for public schools, international peace and solidarity, and equality for all.

Unity! Strength! Justice! draws from the NSW Teachers Federation’s rich archival collections to celebrate the Federation’s achievements, preserve its history for future generations, and engage its members and the public in contemporary issues that teachers and schools face today.

Unity! Strength! Justice! exhibition
100 Years of the NSW Teachers Federation

NSW Teachers Federation House
37 Reservoir Street
Surry Hills, Sydney

24 September - 16 October 2018

Curator: Susan Charlton
Creative Director: Kim Richards
Exhibition Design: Jakk Hodson
'Though Ms Charlton remembers the role of contemporary Federation leaders Jennie George and Sharan Burrow from their strong presence in the media, she has been delighted to discover the generations of extraordinary women campaigners who came before them.​​

'There’s something wonderfully subversive about women, photographed in their floral frocks, hats, pearls and handbags, who were actually strong activists for social change and social justice,” she said.

'Women such as Beatrice Taylor and Lucy Woodcock are a complete revelation to me. Reading Beatrice Taylor’s oral history held in the Federation library, conveys a great deal about her character and personality.

'She memorably described herself as having to be ‘half actress, half artist’ to capture the attention of her class of 70 students when she was a young 17-year-old teacher. Her story is just one of many in the exhibition.'

Unity! Strength! Justice, NSWT Education Journal, 18 June 2018

Unity! Strength! Justice, NSWT Education Journal, 18 June 2018

Historic school photos to feature in centenary exhibition, NSWT Education Journal, 22 August 2018
Unity! Strength! Justice!
100 year timeline booklet
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