Federation Life Member Max Edmunds has died.
After serving in the Occupational Forces in Japan following World War 2 Max trained at the Enmore Annex of Sydney Teachers College from 1951. He started teaching at Annandale Public School in 1953 and was principal of Cairnsfoot SSP when he retired in 1987.
Max’s attributes included his commitment and loyalty to his profession, his colleagues and the families whose children he educated. In those days, the teachers’ union was a Federation of separate sectional organisations. Max was Treasurer of both the Men’s Teachers Association and later the Deputies Association.
Max believed that, as a union, we had to care about the education system and the people who we were educating, not only about the industrial conditions under which we worked. In the late 1960s he took a strong stand on the issue of class sizes. “This stand led to reprisals from some departmental officers, but Max’s focus in all aspects of his career was aimed at bringing maximum benefits to the students, being industrially sound, and being true to his principles regardless of the impediments this generated in his departmental career.” (Federation Life Membership citation 1997).
This courage and determination from a headmaster was a role model for others whose attitude and behaviour were strengthened by his example.
Max continued his activism throughout his career, he was a Federation Councillor and timekeeper, an Annual Conference Delegate and sat on numerous Federation committees, including a term as Secretary of the Ethics Committee. In retirement, Max continued his involvement in Federation as a member of the Retired Teachers’ Association (RTA). He held the position of Secretary and attended Annual Conference as an Observer for the RTA.
In delivering Max’s eulogy Ken Johnson noted, “In a world full of increasing stress, hype, corruption, injustice, when we are expected to give so much attention to the celebrities and high fliers, it is sometimes suggested that the passing of such people will leave us more affected than the passing of the Max Edmunds of our world. I would like to suggest that the contrary is the case. We need more than ever, the caring, courageous, thinking people who act from such principles. They contribute to our own development and behaviour, and clearly, their contributions can live on in those with whom they had contact.”