When Christine Payne was active in the Western Metropolitan Social Sciences Teachers Association, she single-handedly developed the Department of Education's skeleton geography curriculum into a full program of topics to be covered and resources to be used - a mammoth task.
Payne was a dedicated teacher who believed that public schools with their strong values - a sense of fairness and inclusiveness - were best able to give a true education to all students.
She was passionate about geography and considered it would be wrong not to include it in the national curriculum as a compulsory subject. In 1999, when her student Sharon Goodwin topped the state in geography 3, she was delighted. Also of note was the very high average for all her students - band 5 and 6 was the norm.
She shared her bedroom with three sisters and rarely had peace or privacy, so waited until her sisters fell asleep to put on the light to read. When her sisters complained about the light, she would get up at 2am and study for two hours in the backyard with a torch and a blanket around her.
Bonnie and several of the children were hard of hearing. When it was time to send Christine's older brother to Guildford Public School, Bonnie also sent four-year-old Christine to help him. Christine excelled not only academically but also in sport. She single-mindedly put thought and effort into everything she took on.
She went to Chester Hill High School and, after taking her HSC, she won both a teachers college scholarship and a Rotary scholarship. She went to Newcastle Teachers College for two years to become a high school geography and social sciences teacher then started teaching in 1970 at Northmead High School. At night she continued her tertiary studies for a BA at the University of Sydney.
During this time, in 1974, she met Ross Payne at a hockey social and they were married the following year.
In 1976 and 1977, Payne undertook a special education diploma at Nepean CAE so she could teach deaf students. With the diploma, she started teaching at North Rocks School for the Deaf but returned to teaching geography and social sciences at Grantham Sports High School and Girraween Selective High School.
When Payne became ill with cancer, she was as courageous and realistic as she had been all of her life. She faced it with quiet dignity and fortitude.
Christine Payne is survived by Ross, children Andrew and Johanna, grandson Toby and her extended family