Ballina & Richmond River GenWeb
CORAKI CENTRAL SCHOOL
His diary states that he went on horseback on November 16, 1867, to select a site for a school. After some deliberation he selected a lot, in his own words, on "Bally Hill". His choice and wisdom in selection are well evident to those who know the school, because the present buildings are on the original site.
Some small and interesting things to notice, which would give us some indication of conditions, are worthy of mention. One of the Yabsley brothers, at the age of 4, had to attend in order that numbers would be sufficient to keep the school open. The teacher was paid the princely salary of £48 per annum. He was paid quarterly instalments of £12, and then only if he had furnished all the usual returns.
The 21st April, 1870, saw the departure of Mr. Small from the small settlement and, according to written testimonials the people were sorry that he should go. With his departure returned the former difficulty of finding another teacher. For fourteen months the position was vacant and the school closed. It was not until 5th August 1871, that relief to the situation arrived in the form of Mr. Imlay McLaren, and the school reopened.
DEPARTMENT TAKE OVER
The original area selected in the 1860ís has at times been added to, until now in 1959, the area is very spacious and suitable. The old residence which stood facing Adams Street, lasted for many years, but it was demolished at an obscure time, probably not long after the end of World War 1.Prior to 1875, Coraki School was in the Armidale Inspectorate. In 1875, the Grafton Inspectorate was formed, and Coraki was included in its boundaries. Mr. James McCredie was the first inspector, and he reports the building of a weather shed in 1874 as well as an enrolment of 100 pupils. The ensuing year saw a further increase to 124 pupils, but in 1886, the enrolment had dropped to 73. It would appear that seasonal conditions, sickness and farm operations played havoc with enrolments.
In the 1890's the enrolments again increased steadily, but with small setbacks punctuating the progress. One interesting set of figures tells us that in 1893 the enrolment was 70 but average attendance a meagre 30. We are led to believe that this year saw the worst floods in the town's young history, and these undoubtedly affected attendance.Coupled with this was the construction of the North Coast rail, and attendances of schools in the district were affected.
The structure of 1898 origin has been extensively altered in its 61 years. In 1923 and 1924 it was added to extensively, at a cost of £2,580. This included alterations, two additional classrooms, store rooms, staff room, hat room and a long wide corridor. The grounds were fenced in the same year at a cost of £99, and the conditions obtained then prevailed for the next thirty years. 1953 saw a home science and manual arts block completed. This block is of modern design, is spacious, with an abundance of material required for the teaching of the principles of these subjects.
CHANGES IN CLASSIFICATION
In its 92 years of official existence, Coraki School has had 19 headmasters, at an average stay of almost five years per person. These men, in order of date of appointment, are: Arthur Small, Imlay McLaren, Thomas Dunlop, John Simes, John Bath, Isaac Easterbrook, Lionel Hayden, Henry Eagles, Benjamin Colding, Hector Lang, Dursley Woodward, Jack Sheridan, Cecil Foley, Henry Ford, Eric Lake, Leslie Joyce, Albert Weaver, Joseph Henderson and the present headmaster, Mr. Charles Russell.
Of Coraki Central School 1959, much can be said. In recent years the buildings have been painted, and they appear both clean and fresh. The rooms are airy, well lit and painted inside in stimulating colours. The grounds are picturesque, displaying several types of pine, camphor laurel, silky oak and peppercorn trees.
The Parents and Citizensí Association is extremely active, with a solid core of very interested and keen people.Class combinations leave the primary section with three teachers and the secondary with two. Two specialist teachers also spend two days per week in instruction in home economics, needlework, farm mechanics and technical drawing.
The girls follow a non-language commercial course which gives a good working understanding of commerce.
In concluding, it is felt reasonable to say that Coraki has a past and a present of which it can feel justifiably proud. May the next 92 years see progress on the same scale.
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.