This time of year Mums and Dads are busy buying all the exercise books, pencil cases, folders and laptops for the beginning of the school year. School has certainly changed in 100 years or so. A little while ago I acquired a gorgeous school exercise book owned by Florence Breaden (1893-1929) in 1908 who attended Petersham School in an inner Sydney suburb. I think it’s a homework book because it covers a range of subjects including Arithmetic, English, Geography, Poetry and Music, and was used from February to the end of the school year. As a diligent 15-year-old, Florence carefully illustrated her book with the most beautiful pen and ink title pages, half title pages and borders, all illustrated with flowers, rabbits, foxes, chickens, swans, birds and a woman riding a horse side saddle.