STATUS QUO MCMLIX
This publication presents the schools of the Ballina Inspectorate at this time - Education Week, 1959 - and their origins.
BUNGAWALBYN PUBLIC SCHOOL
The first school was opened at Bungawalbyn on the 9th July, 1877 in a slab hut erected by the residents of the district on the land then owned by Louis Henry Robinson. A total of 26 pupils attended the school when it was first opened as a provisional school by Miss McNeil, the first teacher in charge.
The slab hut was built close to the river bank, but was replaced by a weatherboard building erected by the Department of Education on the land which became the school site as it exists today. Originally the land had been part of a 40 acre block first selected by Louis Henry Robinson on the 3rd December, 1874.
In 1877 a provisional school was built to provide the educational needs of the families which had settled in the district in the 1860-70 period during which the Bungawalbyn area was pioneered. The school was named Bungawalbyn, the name given to the district and also the south arm of the Richmond River known as Bungawalbyn Creek. Bungawalbyn is an aboriginal name, meaning "the home of the water lilies".
SCHOOL COST £432
The existing brick school was erected in 1892, and cost the Department of Education £432. In that year the enrolment was 55 pupils. The new building was moved a little away from the river and the road was built between the school and the river, where the earlier timber building had stood. A school residence was built and remained in use for many years before being demolished in 1928. It stood on the north side of the school in the existing school grounds.
Well known district families who are linked closely with the school are the Purseys, Krauss, Stewarts, Broadricks, Newbys, Kirklands, Leesons, Robinsons and numerous others. Three generations have attended the school and many who have passed through it have remained in the district while others have gone into many walks of life in other parts of the State.
The present school serves the rich, but flood prone area of the Mid-Richmond, from Swan Bay to Bungawalbyn Creek. Several pioneering families, such as the Purseys, Leesons and Broadricks of the third generation are attending the school at the present time. Enrolment at the moment is twenty pupils, some of whom travel up to six miles to school by bus or bicycle.
All classes from first to sixth are taught. After the latter class pupils are able to further their education at any of the secondary schools, namely Coraki and Woodburn Central and Lismore High School. Over the last twenty-two years only two teachers have been appointed. Mr. K. Milligan for some eighteen years and the present teacher, Mr. J. Davison, for four years.
The Department of Education this year has carried out extensive repairs to the buildings, including the painting of the whole school in several bright shades.
Residents of the community take great interest in the school activities, especially in such events as Commonwealth Day, Education Week, athletic carnivals, the Christmas Tree, Junior farmers, play night and the learn to swim campaign, most of whom take part in the activities which are run by an active P. and C. Association, the secretary of which has been in office for over twenty years. The P. and C. Association has provided a library of several hundred volumes, a radiogram, a practice concrete slab and many other necessary items.
With the present co-operation between the school and the community a prosperous future is ensured.
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