MORE EPHEMERA OF SCHOOL DAYS – A University of Melbourne guide to sources on Victorian education advises that:
From the 1872 Education Act until 1970 – the Victorian Education primary curriculum focused on texts from Ireland, Btritain and in the later part of the 20th Century emerging Australian content.
Colonial school curriculum relied heavily on text-books in the form of readers to establish standards and skills in reading and writing . “The Irish Readers” (1848-1877) designed to provide a non denominational religious education and a focus on literacy and moral values.
The British Royal Readers were introduced in 1877, replacing the Irish Readers and focused on English literature, history and deeds of the Empire.
In 1896, the monthly School Paper was produced by Charles Long which was distinguished by an increasing Australian content whilst still upholding the moral values and beliefs of the British Empire. This It cost 1 shilling and all children were required to purchase a copy. It was compulsory reading for children until the 1930s, when the Victorian Readers became compulsory and the School Papers supplemented them. In the 1960s the three grades of the School paper were renamed to Meteor, Comet and Orbit. View a visual relationship map of these publications
These examples are from 1971 the Orbit. The cover designs here make it clear the message was funky not staid.