Farina 5. 8.1918. – “The inspector”
You say you are expecting a long letter from me and as I promised you one last mail I will do my best. T will answer you last letter first and then proceed with my news.
Things in town seem damn slow but things here are, I’m afraid a lot slower. You say you are working at full pressure. It seems I have not been doing so and am frightfully behind with my studies and have consequently decided to drop history and concentrate on physiology. This means my history book, of which we spoke when I was in town is at your service.
Perhaps I will take on history again so that if I send for it you will immediately return it, however this is a very remote chance.I am glad the cockatoo arrived safely. Sorry you don’t take kindly to it but no doubt you will begin to appreciate it before long especially as you will only learn his good points as time goes on.— (These three dashes are used in telegraphy for laughter so I always use them in my letters when I think I have written something funny.)
From my experience of last holidays I think it would be foolish to come down for only a week again. Traveling 800 miles before and after a four days holiday is no joke as you will someday find out. It is particularly tiresome when on the narrow gauge of which the greater part is composed. This means I teach straight on but get an extra week at Christmas i.e. finishing at the same time you do. I mentioned an idea in my note upon which I will expand a little and attempt to make it a plan of yours.
On Saturday night last Bogner (the old fellow) was on the train and I had a chat with him. He asked me out to his station whenever I liked. He also added I could or rather should bring my brother if possible, now my idea is this.
You should bike to Hawker on the Friday night after you finish school. This night is exempt so you should have no bother. Entrain at Hawker on Saturday. Pick me up at Farina and go on to Hergott.
On Sunday set off on the bike with me (good road) to Bogners station which is 90 miles off. Stay there about a week and return to town with me for Christmas. This will give you a good chance of seeing the far north and also give you and me some idea of a cattle station. The idea seems good to me and should easily recompense any loss of pleasure we would have together at Michaelmas (spelling)
Surely you will not begrudge me, an outcast in an outpost of civilisation; the pleasure of having a companion for a month. Miss Reimann will be here in about three weeks time and will probably stay a month.
Time is beginning to drag here again so this visit should be a reviver. It takes a lot of will to keep oneself at all cheerful here at times. Imagine yourself in my position now. I am in a room on my own penning this. Outside there is a boisterous South Wind howling in every corner. Cold and damp and no fire and alone. 400 mildfc from home and friends. Nothing to look forward to save this visit and my Christmas holidays which seem so long ahead. Yes, Herb, it is alright to say town is slow but just imagine me here. There is one pleasant gleam however and that is I have two good friends here. Both are married and I know I am always welcome but still one can’t make a picnic of those things. Kerin and Sexton the S.M. Sexton is a joke from start to finish.
Re my inspection. Knightleys last 2 reports are excellent but it seems to me he let things go since the last one. Consequently the inspector took it that the school was in a good condition. Of course I told him about it but you see he has those last reports. That they are twelve months old did not seem to strike him. He gave me 85 percent efficiency. Here are some extracts from his report.
1. Dusting must be done daily (I mentioned dust storms etc.) Cobwebs should not be allowed to accumulate
2. Teaching. The weak points in the school as revealed by the inspection are Arith. And Spell. I have discussed these matters with the head teacher (meaning me, hm!) who is fully aware of the necessity for improvement.
3. The class subjects on the whole have been taught very well indeed.
Drill and discipline excellent.
4. General. Mr Nietz took charge in April. He has thoro’ control of the school and his teaching methods are sound and progressive. There is a sparkle and willingness about the children which is distinctly pleasing.
This is not at all bad except re: condition of the room.
Well I must skid. I have still a bit of the blues but know by symptoms that I will be alright in the morning.
Hoping all are as well as I am,
Your loving brother Arno.
This is just one of the many (weekly) letters written by Arno Nietz: He was a fresh faced 20 year old young man who arrived on the “Marree Mixed” train to take up his teaching appointment.
Copies are available from the Farina Restoration Group.