Single sheet of grade 2 student work, lined, written in pencil. The work records the landing of the first humans on the moon on 20 July (21 in Australia) 1969.

The work is inscribed: 'John Callaghan 2D 2b. Monday 21st July 1969. At 6.18 am the astronauts landed on the moon in the lunar module. And when they get out they are going to pick up dust and stones. and then they will go back to earth. The three astronauts are on the moon in the lunar module and befer they wher picking up dust and stones and rocks but they are walking on the moon.'

The donor was a school teacher at Altona Primary School, and the work was done under her supervision at the time of the landing.

Physical Description

Single sheet of off-white paper, lined in blue with wide spacing for a young writer, written in pencil on both sides in careful, rounded writing. A pencil drawing at the lower right on the front appears to be the earth and the moon against a black sky. A small stick figure with a smiling face appears on the lower rear side. Paper yellowed and slightly foxed.


It is estimated (by SBS) that around 500 million people around the world watched the moon landing on 20 July, 1969. The moment Neil Armstrong stepped onto the moon was one of the iconic moments in modern history. He was joined on the surface by Edward ('Buzz') Aldrin, while Michael Collins remained in the orbiting command module. A total of six lunar landings were achieved in three years, the last in December 1972.

The way that children experienced and remembered the event is not well-documented. In an era of few televisions, many school children saw the moon landing on televisions set up in school corridors or crowded classrooms, or were invited to local homes that had televisions. In her Grade 2 class at Altona Primary School, Mrs Klemm asked her pupils to record their thoughts and impressions as the landing occured, and kept several examples for posterity, together with the newspaper that recorded the lunar landing. She was probably one of countless teachers around the world to use the event as an educational opportunity. The children's work records the basic facts of the event, where they saw it and what was likely to happen next. Some placed themselves in the story, imagining visiting the moon or mentioning unrelated facts such as where they had lunch that day.

The school work also offers an insignt into school life in the late 1960s at a Melbourne primary school. The Heritage Victoria listing of Altona Primary School (no. 3923) notes that it was the first school to be built in Altona (constructed 1922-27), and is one of few surviving early public buildings in Altona. The school was part of significant inter-war development of the area, stimulated by the revival of the Altona Beach estate. Altona grew quickly in the following years, from 1722 in the 1933 census to 16,167 in the 1961 census. By 1966 several portable classrooms were being used to accommodate the students, in addition to classrooms added since the school opened.

More Information