ESL, EFL and Adult Literacy Resources

Introduction to

We are not a big commercial company but merely two old women,
good friends, colleagues, experienced ESL teachers,
 with a passion for helping students who are struggling with the very difficult task
of mastering reading and writing in English. 

Hazel Davidson started her professional career almost 50 years ago teaching French and Latin in NSW high schools.  During the 1980s she completed a Grad. Dip. TESOL to become an ESL teacher and has taught children, adolescents and adults in four states since then.  Her passion is literacy for students who have had little or no prior schooling before their arrival in Australia. 
Dorothy Court's original teacher training was in English and Art, majoring in drawing.  She then went on to do additional studies in TESOL and has been using her art as an important part of her ESL teaching for the last three decades.  During a large proportion of that time she has specialised in teaching newly arrived adult migrants with zero English.

Although our own students are mainly adults, often refugees with little or no prior formal schooling, our reading and spelling materials have been found to be equally helpful with a number of other groups as well:
  • Primary school students to complement their SOSE programs;
  • Upper primary and secondary students with literacy problems;
  • Adult Literacy students with an interest in the history and geography of their own country;
  • Overseas EFL students who want to learn more about Australia but find more commonly available materials beyond their English language skills.

The Sugarbag name:

Sugarbag on Damper is a tribute to the skills, resourcefulness and endurance of earlier generations of Australians, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal.

is the English word used by Aboriginal people for the delicious wild honey, which women sought and often still seek, in the bush.  It is prized, not just for its wonderful flavour, but also as an important addition to the traditional diet, which contained little sugar.

Women would walk for many kilometres looking for the tiny native bees, often high in trees.  At times they concentrated on finding this sweet delicacy in preference to more readily available sources of nourishment, risking hunger if their search was unsuccessful.

for non-Aboriginal Australians was a more mundane commodity, but a very useful one nevertheless.  During our parents' and grandparents'  time sugar was sold in 70lb (about 32kg) bags made from strong hessian cloth.  The empty bags, in an era of waste-not-want-not customs, were recycled to be used for many purposes.  They made excellent door mats.  Wet sugar bags were used in fire fighting.  They were used as the base for beds.  When seams were unpicked and multiple bags sewn together, they were even used as linings for walls and blankets for beds.  The list is almost endless.

Damper is a type of bread without yeast.  It can be cooked in the hot coals of a fire.  Aboriginal women in the old days made it from ground seeds of various grass plants, much like wheat (which is, of course, a type of grass).  If each small loaf is kneaded until it is very smooth, when it is cooked, the ashes from the fire will fall off easily.  Another method of cooking damper was (and sometimes still is) a camp oven, a heavy iron pot, which was completely covered with hot coals.