L2 was a conscientious, high achieving student in a State High School in what, at the time, was a new suburb of Melbourne. Her teachers were mostly young graduates who moved on quickly, providing energy and enthusiasm, but little continuity. There was no tradition of university entry at the school. Very few students stayed on to Year 12 and 5 or 6 of those might proceed to University. No career counselling was provided, beyond that casually given by individual teachers – “You’re good at school – you should become a teacher”.
Her father was ambivalent about the usefulness of a university education, but her mother encouraged her and she applied for and was accepted into Arts/Law at Melbourne University on a Commonwealth Scholarship.
She had also been offered a Teaching Scholarship. The notification told her to attend a meeting at Melbourne Teachers’ College, which she did, wearing casual clothes. The male presenter at the meeting singled her out, commenting to the assembled group: “We don’t expect anyone to turn up looking like that!”. He also warned the potential teachers “You’re not here to get pregnant”.
She began Law.