Mabel Hale

This alumna loves teaching

Tuesday, August 22, 2023
Brenton Stacey
About the Author

Brenton Stacey

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Brenton is Avondale University’s Public Relations and Philanthropy Officer. He brings to the role experience as a communicator in publishing, media relations, public relations, radio and television, mostly within the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the South Pacific and its entities.

Gives 50 years’ service to early childhood education

Mabel Hale never really left school.

A graduate on 1953, May taught at the Seventh-day Adventist primary school in Glen Huon, Tasmania, before marrying and raising four children. But she wanted to make the most of her training. “I thought, I did all that study, I need to do some more teaching.” So, in 1963, she applied for a job close to the family’s new home in Victoria and got the position: play leader at Diamond Creek Memorial Kindergarten. It would begin a 50-year association with the school, mostly as its director. “I liked the role!” says May, who would end up teaching the children of children. Further education at the Melbourne Kindergarten Teachers College followed.

A Medal of the Order of Australia in 2006 not only recognised May’s service to early childhood education but also through young adult and church programs—as an elder, one of the first females ordained as such in Victoria, May served the Adventist church in Greensborough for 30 years. The medal came after a Citizen of the Year award from Nillumbik Shire Council in 1998 and a citation from Rotary in 1999.

May grew up among the farming community of Kulikup in the South West of Western Australia, with extended family members taking an interest in her decision to enrol at Avondale. A trailblazer of sorts, “I must have done OK because they enrolled their kids, too.” Sisters Jean Mack and Hazel Eaton would also graduate as teachers (as did son Michael and daughter Sandra later). “We were homeschooled for years, so I longed to be with other kids. I loved school.”

Perhaps May wanted to give other children the same sense of enjoyment. “Early childhood education is a confidence booster as children take their first steps into formal education. It’s a valuable part of their development.”

Since retiring, May has helped raise cattle on son Lyndon’s farm and care for husband Allan.

The Class of 1953 honours Mabel Hale for her lifetime commitment to early childhood education and pastoral care.

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