08 May 2009

Allan Spinaze


A Brief History Since Maitland 1959


Attended UNE -- Armidale; graduated B.A. (Hons in Economics) Dip. Ed. President of Wright College; Orientation Director; Played Hockey, Member Evangelical Union, To India with Student Union Exchange.

First Teaching Appointment: Enmore Boys' High ...Economics, Geography, Business Principles teaching load; sang "Bumble" in School Musical "Oliver". Enmore had big migrant intakes from central Europe in those days; about one third of the classes had no English, or were just learning to speak the language, "fresh off the boat". Very interesting and challenging.

Married Fiona Martin (of Woodburn and UNE) 1966 ... Science teacher, first appointed to Moree.

1969 -- To Canada (for one yr and stayed nearly 8!)


First taught at Wainwright High School ... the prairies of Alberta; then appointed Principle Irma School .. 20 km from Wainwright. Gr 1-12 Rural School. Skied Banff at Easters; every summer travelled through Nth America, Europe, Alaska, Australia. Still have contact with friends from there.

Our two older children (Nathan, Katrina) were born while we were in Irma. Very happy years.

Active in Alberta Teachers' Association ... "Salary Negotiating Cttee", Convention Cttee, etc., sand in local choirs. Wainwright Ski Club.

1976 -- Returned to Australia ... aging parents; young family we wanted to be "Aussies" ... somewhat irrational decision.

NSW Ed Dept. refused to even give interview; Education Queensland offered teaching appointment to Heatley High School, Townsville; we have been in Townsville ever since.

Our third child, Damian, was born in Townsville.


Active in Queensland Teachers' Union ... Regional and State Councils; Chaired Org Cttee for three large Regional teacher Conferences; Promotional Committees for Ed. Qld.

Geography Subject Master; later Head of Department Social Sciences; Kirwan High School ... 2500 enrolment (we had 17yr 8 classes of 34) ...was (still is?) largest school in the state. Involved in School Musicals; debating; student teachers; nominated for National Teaching Awards; Mooting Competitions. Chair of Local Economics Subject Panel for Board of Secondary Studies, for many yrs.

Involved with Anglican Church at parish and Diocesan levels; singing with Townsville Choral Society in NQ Eisteddfods; and shows.


Took "somewhat early retirement"; did some contract teaching for several private schools over several terms.

U3A member; JP Rosters; Casual local Live Theatre Usher; Social Tennis; Church Lay Reader.

Now ... we are both "grey nomads"; volunteer patients at JCU Med School; Examination Supervisors for JCU; still singing in Chorale; Society; even heavier involvement in Anglican Diocesan Affairs (Treasurer of Diocese; General Synod Member, various committees...); Lay reader at Parish level. Canon of St. James Cathedral; Justice of the Peace.

Some overseas travel, recently to the Middle East. Most grey nomading seems to involve visiting kids and grand-kids in ACT.; although we do get to other places in Queensland, NSW, Vic, SA, Tas, etc. as well.

We enjoy "general good health" and hope that "self-funded retirees" can remain afoat for a long time yet. Life can be very good after the heavy stresses (and good times) of a life well spent in education.


  1. Dear Alan,
    I am sure you will not remember me, but I have wonderful memories of your classes when I was a student at Enmore Boys' High in 1966-71. Apart from your great teaching, I also remember noticing all the non-teaching work you contributed to the school. I always feel incredibly blessed to have had the high school education I had. I went on to become a teacher and a now a teacher educator at UTS. I hope you are enjoying a healthy and happy retirement.
    All the best,
    Liam Morgan

  2. You and your wife taught me in Wainwright in 70+-. Hope you and your wife are enjoying your time. You were one of the few who kept me interested in school. I would have quit much sooner. I eventually went to U of A, though I ended up in and retired from a 40yr construction career. All my best and thank you. Will Brandt (Ullrich William Bzdel)