STATUS QUO MCMLIX
MEERSCHAUM VALE PUBLIC SCHOOL
The first school in Meerschaum Vale was opened in 1885 with an enrolment of approximately 35 pupils. The site selected was a property owned by Mr. Sohn. From records available, it is not certain as to whether Mr. Lunly or Mr. Madden was the first teacher.
The building was constructed of 11 inch white beech timber, which was tongued and grooved. The roof was dome-shaped and the classroom floor was tiered. With the school enrolment increasing, it was decided to construct a new building, the present school, and pupils and teacher, Mr. Munro moved into their new surroundings in 1909.
Mr. Munro remained as teacher-in-charge until 1911. During this period the enrolment fluctuated in the fifties. With the transfer of Mr. Munro, Mr. R. Robertson took charge until 1915, when he was succeeded by Mr. Murray.
During Mr. Murray's term of office, consisting of 10 years, the enrolment increased to 56 pupils. In 1926 Mr. Carlisle arrived to take charge of the school. With the district's potentialities increasing, new settlers arrived and the enrolment increased to a maximum of 64 in 1928.
Due to an increase in enrolment the school was reclassified 5th Class in 1928, and Mr. Hatherley became the first Headmaster, capably assisted by Miss Rhynhart as assistant teacher. At this stage the present school consisted of one classroom. with the result that the Lower Division were housed on the verandah, which was enclosed by canvas blinds.
In 1932, the school was again reclassified 6th Class, the enrolment having fallen to 41. Mr. Punton became the new teacher-in-charge. Mr. Punton was transferred and Mr. Schuhmacher arrived in 1936 and remained in charge until 1941. It is interesting to note that Mr. Schuhmacher's sons are now teaching in this district.
Mr. Schuhmacher was succeeded by Mr. Blacklock in 1941. During Mr. Blacklock's period the enrolment increased and the school was again reclassified 5th Class. In July, 1942 Mr. Evans became Headmaster. Steps were then immediately taken by the P. & C. Association to get additions to the school and the appointment of. an assistant teacher. Further requests were made to the Minister to get the partition between the two classrooms completed and the remaining portion of the inside of the school painted.
In 1946 Mr. C. Goldthorpe, the present Headmaster of Alstonville Central School. took charge. Mr. Goldthorpe was transferred and was succeeded by Mr. V. Brill in 1950.
During Mr. Brill's stay in the district the school was repainted. Mr. Brill was succeeded by the present teacher, Mr. Beston in 1956.
The present school enrolment is 25 and it is anticipated that this enrolment will remain stable during the next few years. The school receives visits from the various Ministers of Religion and the Police in their road safety campaign. The school serves an area of approximately three square miles and on the satisfactory completion of 6th Grade pupils are then enrolled at Lismore High School.
Many extra curricula activities are carried on by the school. School banking is encouraged, pupils are members of the Gould League, a school beautification scheme is in progress in the planting of flowering shrubs, and it is anticipated that this month a Junior Farmers' Club will be formed.
The school participates in the Alstonville and Ballina Zone Sports. Mention here should be made of the valuable work performed for the school by the Tintenbar Shire. In 1957 without cost, the Shire graded a playing area in the school grounds. This action has been much appreciated, together with the many school requests which have been favourably carried out.
Prior to the formation of the P. & C. Association in 1934, the Primary Producers' Union gave valuable support to the school. Mr. E. C, Payne became the first President of the P. & C. In recognition of Mr. and Mrs. Payne's work they were made the first life members of the Association. Mr. Payne occupied the position for a period of 11 years. Mr. Marsh was the initial Secretary, and acted in this position for a period of five years.
Mr. Stamp became the first ex-pupil to hold the position of President, and remained in office for a period of six years. Other Presidents of the Association have been Mr. F. Kelly (three years) and the present President, Mr. A. Lumley, who has held the position for six years.
A noteworthy feature of the Association has been the 14 years of continuous service of Mr. A. Creighton as Secretary. The P. & C. has helped in adding additional material to that supplied by the Education Department. During its existence the following aids have been given to the school: 35 m.m. projector and screen, wireless, text books, flags, library books, sporting material and a set of Newne's Pictorial Knowledge.
Last year over £50 was spent by the P. & C. for the benefit of the school. Besides helping the school financially, the Association has helped in co-operating in the following community efforts: Anzac and Empire Day celebrations, Education Week activities and the Christmas tree function.
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