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The focus wasn’t on ‘boomsa‐daisy’: sex education at Shepparton South Technical School, Victoria, 1973‐1986

History of Education Review

ISSN: 0819-8691

Article publication date: 14 October 2007

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Abstract

School sex education has the potential to evoke a range of personal and political reactions. While it is usually agreed that sexuality should be ‘done’ in school, few agree on the best way of ‘doing’ it. This article provides a personal account of the development of sex education at Shepparton South Technical School, Victoria, Australia from 1973‐1985. It is supported by interviews with the people involved in those events and archival materials, including media reports. It also documents the efforts of extreme right activists to discredit and stop programmes, and the State Liberal government’s attempt to formulate a policy on sex education. First I provide a general background to technical schools in Victoria in the 1970s followed by a discussion of Shepparton South Technical School specifically. I then discuss the development of the sex education (social biology) programme, the pivotal role of the Social Biology resource Centre, and the networks involved. I also describe the attacks on the programme in the late 1970s, and their origins and impact. I conclude with a discussion of the outcomes of this intense public scrutiny, and the demise of social biology and the secondary technical schools, the ‘techs’ in the 1980s.

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Citation

Preston, L. (2007), "The focus wasn’t on ‘boomsa‐daisy’: sex education at Shepparton South Technical School, Victoria, 1973‐1986", History of Education Review, Vol. 36 No. 2, pp. 19-32. https://doi.org/10.1108/08198691200700007

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2007, Emerald Group Publishing Limited