LOOKING BACK: Ron Alexander, former principal at Clinton State Primary school with wife Carol, a former Clinton State Primary School Year 1 teacher.
LOOKING BACK: Ron Alexander, former principal at Clinton State Primary school with wife Carol, a former Clinton State Primary School Year 1 teacher. GLA110119TEACH

Old photo brings up 'humbling' memories for former principal

A PHOTO of a former Clinton State Primary School principal waving to students is bringing up memories of days gone by.

Dozens saw the photo online and took to commenting on how cherished their schooling experience was under now-retired principal Ron Alexander.

Mr Alexander joined the school as principal in 1984, where his wife Carol Alexander was already teaching.

The couple sat down for a "very humbling” trip down memory lane.

Mr Alexander remembered the day the photo was taken and said it was, in every way "a different time” to today.

"It was breaking-up day and The Observer came out and said 'just for a little bit of a feature can we get a couple of kids',” Mr Alexander said.

They identified all three students in the photograph, Justin Long, Robert Long and Tony Richardson.

The year came to end with a farewell in the pages of the Observer on December 15. Clinton State Primary School principal Ron Alexander waves goodbye to Year 6 students Robery and Justin Long and Tony Richardson.
The year came to end with a farewell in the pages of the Observer on December 15. Clinton State Primary School principal Ron Alexander waves goodbye to Year 6 students Robery and Justin Long and Tony Richardson. The Observer Archives

Mr Alexander said young Justin made a lasting impression when, as a first grader, he got his head stuck between the bars in the toilet block.

"My deputy and I came along and he said, 'well, Mr Alexander, we might just have to cut off one of these ears' and Justin said 'no, no, no',” he said.

"Eventually we just pulled the bars apart and Justin said 'I thought I was going to be there all night'.”

Mr Alexander said watching students grow into adults was gratifying, especially when they "weren't necessarily extremely smart”.

"But they were good workers, reliable, honest and all of them have done well,” he said.

Retired teacher Karen Elliott also saw the photo online and said it reminded her of Mr Alexander's gentle nature.

"If you saw him out in public he always said hello and could actually talk to the kids personally,” Ms Elliott said.

"He was really respected around the whole Gladstone community. He just had this gentle way about him and working for him was a real pleasure.”

Ms Elliott started teaching at the school in 1991, a time when Gladstone was "like a country town”.



PHOTOS: Thousands attend Gladstone dawn service

premium_icon PHOTOS: Thousands attend Gladstone dawn service

Gladstone commemorates Anzac Day at dawn services around the region.

'We were unprotected from the radiation'

premium_icon 'We were unprotected from the radiation'

Maralinga: Mr Aiton is the last surviving member of his crew