STATUS QUO MCMLIX
This publication presents the schools of the Ballina Inspectorate at this time - Education Week, 1959 - and their origins.
PIMLICO PUBLIC SCHOOL
What was the origin of the name Pimlico? Local legend tells us that in the early days of settlement empty beer bottles, bearing the brand Pimlico, were found floating in the river. Perhaps it would be more fitting to point out that an area of London quite close to Buckingham Palace is called Pimlico. There is no doubt that here lies the real source of this district's name.
Old records show that a Provisional School was opened at North Pimlico late in 1886. Why was it called North Pimlico? An old map I once saw solves this riddle. It showed an area of four acres as being set aside for the school site at South Pimlico. Perhaps this area is the present site of the school at Empire Vale.
The old visitors' book records a visit by one, Douglas Gillies, on the 9th December, 1886. He wrote: "I have visited this school for a few minutes and saw 13 pupils in attendance. The want of desks is an inconvenience, but am pleased that the teacher appears to have the respect and confidence of the children by firmness and kindness". (A study of the old punishment book reveals that there was plenty of firmness in "the good old days".)
In January, 1887, there were 27 pupils enrolled and it was from this year that the school's 50th anniversary was dated.
Henry Garner, who was the first teacher, taught from December, 1886, to December, 1887. He was followed by A. G. McKinnon (1888), Watkin W. Morris (1889-1895), Edward Tysoe (1896-1901, Miss W. J. Neil (1912-1914), E. J. Buchan (1915-1924), G. W. O'Brien (1925-1934), R. W. Thompson (1935-1937), A. H. Gray (1938-1942), A. Bickmore, 1943 to the present day.
The first pupils came from the McKinnon, Gillies, Kirby, Jordan, McDonald, Hancock, McLeay and Durrington families.
Pimlico School is ideally situated on the north bank of the Richmond River. Many of the pupils, in the days before roads were constructed, came to school by river boat, which, in addition to carrying goods, mail and cream, provided the only public transport until more recent times.
The present building was erected in 1923. The old building remained in an abandoned state until 1945, when it was demolished by the repair staff and reassembled in Lismore as a workshop.
Only nineteen pupils are enrolled at the school and statistics show that there is very little likelihood of that figure being exceeded for some years. These pupils are drawn from an area of approximately six square miles. The number of pupils would be greater only for the fact that most pupils who live more than two miles from the school travel to Ballina School in a Government subsidised bus.
SCHOOL FORMS COMMUNITY CENTRE
The school is undoubtedly the centre of community activity. It is significant that the active members of the P. and C. Association are the leaders in the Hall Association, and that the core of the Pimlico C.W.A. is composed of P. and C. ladies.
All associations work in harmony. A weekly card party is run jointly by the P. and C. and Hall Associations. The C.W.A. makes generous donations to the school each year.
The annual P. and C. expenditure on school equipment averages about £70 per year. (This figure does not include C.W.A. donations approximating £12 per year.)
The present office bearers of the P. and C. Association are worthy of mention. Mr. H. W. Biggs, our president, has held office continuously for 25 years, our secretary, Mr. P. Brown, for 12 consecutive years, while our treasurer, Mr. J. Jackson, must have something like a record term of office, 27 consecutive years. The school assuredly owes a debt to the P. and C. Association and its faithful executive.
In conclusion it may be of interest to list the pupils of the present teacher who are now in service with the Department of Education: They are Miss Betty McLennan, Mrs. Terry Shute (Pamela McLennan), Miss Benita Brown and Noel Fernance.
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