STATUS QUO MCMLIX
This publication presents the schools of the Ballina Inspectorate at this time – Education Week, 1959 – and their origins.
ALSTONVILLE CENTRAL SCHOOL
Where Alstonville stands today was originally known as Duck Creek Mountain, being at the headwaters of Duck Creek. The first selection in the district was made by Messrs. Thomas and Andrew Freeborn.
An early selector was Mr. John Perry, who named his selection "Alstonville", commemorating the maiden name of his wife, who was Miss Alston. Mr. Perry established a store and post office in conjunction with his property and the name Duck Creek Mountain gradually gave way to that of Alstonville.
Mr. Perry later became a member of the Legislative Assembly and Minister for Public Instruction. Today the two houses at the school are named Alston and Perry after these pioneers.
The original Alstonville School, built in 1875, was constructed from local timber. This building was destroyed by fire in the nineties and the new school and residence were constructed from teak, rosewood and cedar from the surrounding scrub.
The school was opened on 15th March, 1875. The first teacher was Mr. John Dodd and he had an opening enrolment of 17 pupils. Mr. George Kemp was chairman of the local committee for the school. The local residents raised £47 towards the cost of the building which cost altogether £121. The contractors were Messrs. John Perry and Adams. An inspection report of the school, dated 22nd July, 1875, stated that good progress was being made.
In 1884, Mr. John Dodd, who had one arm, was succeeded by Mr. J. J. Simes. Mr. Simes was followed by Mr. H. J. Fox in 1891. The new residence built during this period is the same one occupied by the headmaster at the present time. Later headmasters were Mr. A. J. McCoy (5 ½ years), Mr. Dunlop (8 months), and Mr. T. D. Burling (9 years). Mr. Abernethy was in charge during the First World War. He was followed by Mr. W. A. Lowe, Mr. Stove, Mr. Ben Whatson and Mr. A. G. Spicer.
While Mr. Spicer was headmaster, the Diamond Jubilee Celebrations of the school were held in December, 1936. President of the Celebrations Committee was the late A. L. Elvery and the Secretary was Mr. W. A. Crawford. A publication by this committee contained photographs of headmasters John Dodd and J. J. Simes and school groups from the year 1896.
Later headmasters were Messrs. W. A. Bloomfield, G. Richards, S. T. Neeves, R. F. McGregor, A. Scheumack and, today, C. Goldthorpe, B.Sc.
Mr. C. Goldthorpe, B.Sc. (Econ.) London, has been headmaster since 1955. At present on the staff are Miss M. Nankivell (Infants), Mr. I. Bootes (Lower Primary), Mr. J. Elliott (Upper Primary), Mr. D. Ogilvie (Junior Secondary) and Mr. N. Bartlett (Agricultural Science). Mrs. Goldthorpe teaches Primary Sewing. Visiting teachers who have headquarters at Ballina High School are Mrs. G. Myers (Secondary Needlework), Miss B. Sieffert (Secondary Home Science) and Mr. M. Miller (Primary Woodwork and Secondary Farm Mechanics).
Two staff members, Mr. J. Elliott and Mr. D. Ogilvie, are old boys of Alstonville School. Mr. I. Bootes attended Wollongbar and Mr. N. Bartlett attended Meerschaum Vale.
Mrs. W. Fredericks is school cleaner and last year the staff made a small presentation in recognition of her work at the school over the past twenty-five years.
Last year a combined church service was introduced during Education Week and held in the Methodist Church.
School captains are Shirley Meredith and Jim Hindmarsh. Vice-captains are Ian Reddell and Dorothy Gray. Prefects are Marcia Lack and Ken Thurgate. These pupils meet regularly as a school council.
Today, 144 pupils are attending the school. Transport to school is by bus (from Teven), taxi, private car, bicycle, and two scholars ride horses. Secondary pupils attend the school from McLean's Ridges, Wollongbar, Pearce's Creek, Teven, Tuckombil, Uralba and Rous. Today Mr. F. Crozier's taxi conveys 38 pupils to school from Rous, Dalwood, Lynwood, Uralba and Wollongbar.
In 1958 a new wing was built north of the Woodwork Room and officially opened by Mr. C. M. Ebert, Director of Education, North Coast Area. This wing contains two classrooms (used by Infants and Lower Primary), a staff room and a storeroom.
This addition has enabled an ex-R.A.A.F. hut, previously used as a Junior Secondary classroom, to be converted to a school library room. The school library now contains 320 books. During 1958 local residents donated 120 books to a special Library Appeal. Electricity has recently been connected to this room. The school pupils have supplied the room with curtains, vases and three pictures.
The new Agriculture Plot (1/2 acre) is in the horse paddock and was fenced by the senior boys. Town water is connected. The Department this year supplied a Howard Junior rotary hoe. Work under the supervision of Mr. Bartlett includes fertiliser trials, vegetable growing, and trials of pasture species.
Secondary pupils study the General Activities Course or the Alternative Curriculum Course. Courses available are English, History, Geography, General Mathematics, Biology, Agriculture, Farm Mechanics, Needlework, Home Science, Physical Education and Choir. At the end of 1958 thirteen pupils passed the Intermediate Certificate.
The school is well supplied with sporting equipment. Fields in the playground include a cricket pitch, tennis court, volley ball court and a physical education square. Other popular games are softball, athletics, rugby league and hockey. Primary pupils participate in the Alstonville District P.S.A.A.A. sports at Alstonville at the end of second term. In 1958 Neil Strong represented the school at the P.S.A.A.A. finals in Sydney.
Secondary pupils meet pupils from tile Central schools of Nimbin, Coraki and Woodburn in an Athletics Carnival at Lismore each September. An inter-school visit with Coraki is arranged for each December, when competitions are enjoyed in summer sport and a social is held at night.
During each summer an average of 75 pupils travel to Lismore Baths each Wednesday morning for swimming instruction. Last year eighteen lessons were held, the children paying over £100 in fares.
Regular lifesaving instruction is also given, and in recent years three banners have been awarded to the school by the Royal Life Saving Society (Aust.).
The school was well represented in the Alstonville Junior Rugby League Team in last year's Ballina competition. This year, eight of the schoolboys are playing in the Alstonville Junior Hockey Team each Saturday afternoon. Other pupils play with the local junior cricket and tennis teams.
Pupils regularly enter a display of work in the A1stonville Agricultural Show pavilion. An annual school concert has become established as a popular entertainment. The school choir has a long record of success in festivals, as also has the lower primary verse speaking choir. An innovation this year is a flute band.
The school's success is very largely due to the assistance of the Parents and Citizens’ Association and the Mothers' Club.
President of the P. and C. Association is Mr. Lindsay Smith (a former pupil of the school); secretary is Mr. Wal Roberts and treasurer is Mrs. W. Thurgate. Patrons are Messrs. W. A. Crawford and R. Beacom.
Officers of the Mothers' Club are: President, Mrs. R. F. Bryant; secretary, Mrs. H. Seed; treasurer, Mrs. L. Smith.