Frank Conroy HARDING was born on the 26 March 1928 the eldest of the two sons of Frank Ernest William and Violet Emily (nee Harding – no relation). Frank’s father worked for the fire brigade and rose to be chief officer. Frank’s mother was positive and, because of no opportunity for much formal schooling, was determined that her children should be well educated.
Due to family ties in Albany holidays were usually spent there. Frank’s primary education was at Victoria Park and Beaconsfield Primaries and his secondary at Fremantle Boys, Perth Boys and Perth Modern Schools completing his Leaving Certificate in 1945. Frank swam competitively, mainly for City Swimming Club. In 1940 he was Open Senior Champion for the Fremantle schools.
In 1943, Frank turned to gymnastics and a liaison with the national fitness movement, attending two-week leadership camps at Bunbury. Frank returned to Perth Boys School as a monitor in 1946 and continued teacher training at Claremont Teachers’ College. There Frank met Valerie Brookman from Boyup Brook who was undertaking infant teacher training. They married in 1953.
Frank was appointed to a one-teacher school at Walpole. In 1974 Frank won the Education Department’s Travel Fellowship which he used to examine agricultural education in New Zealand, America and Britain. Frank was principal of Busselton Senior High School for six years from 1977.
In 1982 he was elected a Fellow of the Australian College of Education for services to agricultural and country education. He became Superintendent for the Country South West and Great Southern regions for four years until, along with 42 of his equally senior peers, he was prematurely retired at the beginning of 1987.
The Hardings have explored Australia in a new caravan acquired since Frank’s retirement. Frank has been secretary of the Masonic Village Homes and Senior Citizens Centre Management Committees, a member of Torchbearers for Legacy, Director of Ceremonies of Naturalist Masonic Lodge and on the Board of the Bunbury Institute of Advanced Education.
He enjoys swimming, walking, cycling and fishing, playing golf and making things out of wood.