While digitising a series of photographs from the History Unit of the Department of Education (NRS 15051) we came across an interesting selection of images from Blackfriars School in Sydney highlighting the newly adopted Montessori Method of teaching to the school.
The images, dating from c.1910-1913, contrast greatly with the images of students in the classroom from other schools during the same time period. Rather than rigid rows of desks with students sitting up to attention, children are seen on the floor working with educational toys and equipment or they are pictured learning outdoors.
At Blackfriars School the Montessori Method was championed by the head of the Kindergarten Department Martha Simpson who felt this method of teaching could complement and enhance the already liberal teaching methods at the school. 
Martha Simpson is regarded as key player in the introduction of the Montessori Method to Australia, she travelled to Italy to study the Method and Blackfriars became a hub for the training of teachers in the Montessori Method. She continued to advocate and promote the Method throughout her career. 
 Australian Dictionary of Biography, Simspon, Martha Margaret Mildred (1865-1948), retrieved 15 January 2014 from http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/simpson-martha-margaret-mildred-8434
 Montessori Council of Australia, History of Montessori in Australia, retrieved 15 January 2014 from http://www.montessori.edu.au/about-montessori/montessori-in-australia