Ballina & Richmond River GenWeb
Bangalow Public School
The present Bangalow Public School, situated in Byron Street, Bangalow, is an attractive brick building and was completed in 1925. It consists of four airy classrooms, each 24ft. x 23ft., together with comfortable staff room, office, cloak rooms and store room. A verandah 96ft. x 7ft. runs along the back of the building. The present enrolment of 119 permits one of the classrooms to be reserved as a picture theatre (movie), library and indoor recreation room for wet days. The Parents and Citizens' Association has provided suitable indoor games for the latter purpose. This room is comfortably furnished with theatre seats and library tables.
An industrious and co-operative Parents and Citizens’ Association has provided through the years such important aids as piano, sewing machine, movie film projector, strip film projector, radio and pick-up, typewriter, duplicator and a very fine reading and reference library. This association has a present membership of 120 and meets regularly on the second Tuesday of each month. The average attendance at these meetings is 23. It is the proud boast of this body that, for the last seven years at least, no teacher's request has been refused or curtailed. The present executive consists of Mr. H. Goldsmith (president), Mrs. A. Robinson (hon. sec.), and Mr. W. Johnston (treasurer).
In sport, the school is divided into two Houses - Binks and Snow - and a keen competitive spirit exists. These "Houses" take part in P.S.A.A.A. sports in the Bangalow-Byron Bay School zone. At the present time the "Clasper Cup" (an open trophy for all schools) is held by Binks and the ball games shield by Snow.
The playground is spacious and well grassed with adequate shade trees. A portion of the three-acre school property is occupied by the Bangalow Bowling Club, with attractive building. This club pays a nominal rental to the Education Department, and, in appreciation, holds a "Day" each year, from which the P. and C. Association receives considerable financial assistance.
A most satisfactory "Learn to Swim" pool has been constructed near the school in Byron Creek by community effort, and practically all the children learn to swim during their primary school course. This pool is also used by many neighbouring schools in 'Learn to Swim" campaigns.
Besides meeting the educational requirements of Bangalow proper, children attend from surrounding districts of Binna Burra, Cooper's Shoot and Talofa. These children are conveyed to and from school daily by bus and an organised taxi service. Cost of conveyance is subsidised by the Education Department.
The school "Honour Roll" contains the name of one"Paddy" Bugden, a former pupil of the school, who won the Victoria Cross for conspicuous bravery at Polygon Wood, near Ypres, in 1917, during World War 1. “Paddy" was later killed in action.
The school adequately meets the educational requirements of town and district and is held in high esteem by the community. The present staff consists of: Miss A. Kennedy (Kinder. and class 1), Mr. W. Haynes (classes 2 and 3) and Mr. K. Engel (classes 4, 5 and 6). All children continue their super-primary education at the High Schools of Mullumbimby, Ballina or Lismore.
HISTORY OF SCHOOL
The history of the school should prove of interest to all and especially to the "Old-timers". For the following facts, we are deeply indebted to one - Robert Campbell, the oldest pioneer of the district and the only living human who could provide first hand knowledge of Bangalow's early schools. Mr. Campbell was a pupil of the very first school in this area.
In 1881 Mr. Campbell's father selected 640 acres on Byron Creek.(Later to be known as Bangalow.) In the early "eighties" Mrs. Campbell convened a meeting of all families within a four mile radius of the Campbell home. A large and enthusiastic gathering resulted, at which Mr. B. Broadhead was elected president, Mr. W. Gowan and Mrs. Campbell joint secretaries, and Mr. Campbell senr. as treasurer. Permission was requested to erect a provisional school on Byron Creek, about 11 miles east of the site of the present school. This request was granted and, the school completed in the same year. Successful tenderers for the building were Mr. Tom Pearce and Mr. Morris, both of Fernleigh. The building was passed as satisfactory by Mr. Trollope, Inspector of Schools of the Lismore area, and the school was opened on 30th October, 1884.
The appointment of the first teacher is interesting. Over a cup of tea, Mr. Trollope asked Mrs. Campbell if she could recommend a suitable teacher. Her recommendation fell on a young cultured Englishman, Mr. Richard Abbott, who was appointed at an annual salary of £93/2/-. This young man, completely untrained, appears to have given complete satisfaction.
Actual enrolment figures for the first year are not available but, in 1885, the enrolment was 23 with an average attendance of 18.2. Families of the first school are as follows: Campbell, Robinson, Leahy, Lee, Hogan, Bonnell, French, Beverage, Broadhead and Skelton. Many of these children walked up to four miles through bush tracks to attend.
In 1888, the status of the school was raised from provisional to public, and, in 1891, an additional classroom was added on the recommendation of Inspector McLelland. In 1886, the enrolment had increased to 59 and a new school became necessary. The site of the first school, which had been made as a Government grant, reservation only, was relinquished on 3rd March, 1896.
The site on which the present school stands comprises three acres and was resumed from Mr. Campbell's property under the “Land for Public Purposes Requisition Act" in 1892. The amount of £62/12/5 was paid to Mr. Campbell as compensation. Here a new school was built in 1896, when Mr. P. Board was Inspector of Schools of the Lismore area. In 1907, the name of the school was changed from Byron Creek to Bangalow to conform with a previous change of name of the township.
In 1925, these timber buildings were finally replaced by the modern brick building as it stands today. It appears that some timber of the very early schools has found its way down along the line to the present site. On recent renovation of the weather shed some flooring was removed. This revealed that the 4in. x 2 joists were of pit-sawn beech timber.
Headmasters who have held the "Cup of Knowledge" through the years, with year of appointment, are as follows: Richard Abbott, 1884; George Yonsen, 1885 (relieving); H. Boorman, 1888; Dugald Jones, 1890; John Allen, 1890; George Clarke, 1892; George McLennan, 1906; John Culey, 1911; Thomas McRae, 1915; Louis Hill, 1926 (relieving); Alfred Grantham, 1927; James King, 1928; Len Keech, 1931; Leonard Johnston, 1943; Frank Harvison, 1948; and Steve Engel, 1952.
School history kindly supplied by Kathy Pearson.
Source: the publication STATUS QUO MCMLIX; presents the schools of the Ballina Inspectorate at this time - Education Week, 1959 - and their origins.