Table of Contents

Sally Herzfeld, Western Australia (English)

Sally Herzfeld with Jo Vallentine cutting the 20th anniversary cake for AVP Western Australia.

I was born, Alison Gare, near Perth in Western Australia in 1935. My name changed from Al to Ally and then seems to have stuck at Sally except for official documents or when I was in trouble at school. I grew up in a hills village with 4 other siblings and spent a lot of time on sport and Girl Guides. Mum and Dad became Friends when I was 12 and all the family joined with them. I trained as a Junior Primary school teacher and have loved all the teaching experiences which I have been lucky enough to have been able to accept. My first was at an Anglican Aboriginal Mission out of Wyndham in the far NW of Western Australia. Here I was looked after by the people as though I was part of the family – joined in corroborees, taken bush to live off bush tucker and taught much about their culture. In return I made school work as practical and as much fun as possible as well as starting a Guide Company. Next was back near Perth where I also started a guide company with Aboriginal girls at a settlement on the outskirts of Perth. These girls I mixed with our local company as often as possible.

Next I was asked to go to Port Hedland to start a school for Aborigines who hadn’t had any school before and couldn’t speak much English. This was an exciting two and a third years which added to my appreciation  of and interest in the Aboriginal culture. Here I helped with a cub Pack and started another Guide Company.

In the ‘classroom’ which was an old loco shed, I met my husband ( now of 53 years), Tom, who was a civil engineer. We married, had three children in different parts of the state as he was sent to establish water supplies, before settling back in Darlington near Perth. Here I did relief teaching in the local Government Schools until being called to a small local Private school. In 1973 I became principal of that school of 63 primary students. Now I am still involved in various capacities of what has developed into a two campus non-denominational, independent mixed gender school for a full enrolment of 760 students between the ages of 4 and 17. My ideals which were involved in this school were that each student would proceed at his/her own rate, should aim to better his/her own achievements without competition with others, each class could include 10% of handicapped children, each student would become a member of the Save the Children Fund and the nature loving Gould League club and music, ballet, gym and foreign languages be taught in school time. These principles were not carried out in Government schools at that time.

Sally with some of her grand and great grandchildren, (l to r) Shaylee, Sally, Evini, Imogen, and Nelson, in a rare quiet moment.

We now have 9 grand children and 5 great children so apart from enjoying and helping them I spend much time on AVP, chair the board of a women’s refuge, help with cooking and handcraft activities with refugee women on a Monday,  continue my involvement with Helena College and sometimes join in Quaker Meeting. My friends are those with a positive attitude with whom I enjoy working on these projects.

My AVP involvement began in 2002 when I trained in a men’s prison. It now involves being treasurer and being  on teams to do workshops in three prisons, schools, ethnic groups, remote communities and other states. I have been lucky enough to attend National, Regional and the last 5 International Gatherings.  The best part of the latter has been the pre and post IG workshops in which I participated in South Africa, Costa Rica, and Kenya. A sense of achievement is gained when reading what participants have gained from a workshop and especially when ex inmate facilitators join our AVP Committee and teams because they want to help others gain the benefits that they have through AVP.

Sally with co facilitator, Heather, after completing a Basic workshop in the West Kimberley Regional Prison in Western Australia.

My aim for whatever future is ahead for me is to use AVP to help break down the barriers of violence, racism or tribalism amongst any communities that ask for this creation of a blessed community. I want to encourage children to have an interest in multiculturalism and to care for our environment.



Sally Herzfeld

Darlington, West. Aus

January 2015