STATUS QUO MCMLIX
This publication presents the schools of the Ballina Inspectorate at this time - Education Week, 1959 - and their origins.
REPENTANCE CREEK PUBLIC SCHOOL
Above the swamps beyond the picturesque and popular Minyon Falls, a stream called Boggy Creek meanders down the 1,200 feet high hills, and in its 1,000 feet descent changes its name to Repentance Creek, a name now given to this whole dairying district and arising from the questionable story of the drover who, having failed to coax his bullock across the creek, flogged it to death, then sat down by the waters and bitterly repented.
In the valley the creek tumbles into the larger Cooper's Creek, almost on the boundary of Terania Shire and Byron Shire, the bridges over these creeks being only about 200 yards apart. It is here, 12 miles from Mullumbimby and 19 miles from Lismore, just inside the boundary, and fairly well sheltered from strong winds, that the school was built in 1904 on two acres of land given by the Marten family, which was one of the early settlers in this district.
The year 1884 saw the first settlers here, the Robbins family, and a descendant, Mr. J Robbins, distinctly remembers the days when his father cleared 20 acres of the thick, soft scrubland on which to settle and begin his dairy farm. He recalls the days when the cedar cutters floated their logs down to Boatharbour, when horses had to carry kegs of cream and milk to Lismore, and butter was sold at 3d. per pound. A third generation of the family, Mr. Arthur Robbins, a former pupil of this school, earned the D.F.C. while flying with the R.A.A.F. in the Second World War. Another flying veteran is Mr. R Williams, who was one of the first members of the Australian Air Force in the First World War.
In the early days the school grounds were unfenced and scrub covered, and former pupils remember that there was no P.E. on the timetable, only swimming for the boys during the lunch hour, in the creek below. But the school environment changed as more families moved into the area. The grounds were fenced off, and a colourful display of trees sprang up around the edges; dark green lotus trees, brilliant coral, tall gums and one acorn bearing oak tree. Mingled with these are the softer hued jacarandas, many of which were planted in memory of former residents.
The small school had to be enlarged, and on occasions became a two-teacher school as the numbers reached 60. A wooden verandah was added to take the place of the old dirt floor porch; a weather shed was obtained, transported from Jiggi, and re-erected by the Parents and Citizens' Association. A portion of the land was fenced off and a school residence built, its grounds decorated with flowering wattle, Chinese pear, nut trees, mango, orange and mandarin trees. A horse paddock was also constructed for the animals of children who traveled two or three miles to school.
The general life of the community was changing, for in 1933 Chisholm's bus service, which previously had terminated at Rosebank, 3 miles away, was now extended to Repentance Creek, and made a daily run to Lismore. A few years later this service was taken over by Mr. F Mikkelson, who came to live in the district for the next 21 years.
HALF CENTURY CELEBRATED
In 1954 the school held its 50th anniversary, and of the 1904year original pupils, eleven members were present at the crowded celebrations. Mr. J Robbins, president of the P &C for the last 30 years, and Mr. J Ryder, both first pupils, planted a jacaranda tree to mark the occasion. Honour is also due to Mr. R Crisp, who has been the P & C treasurer for over 30 years. Congratulatory messages were received from many ex-teachers and pupils, including Mr. A Perrett, who taught here in 1906.
The village hall, built partly by public subscription in 1936, is where the main village functions are held, including Sunday services. Here also the annual fair takes place in August. The people are enthusiastic tennis players and a court has been erected opposite the hall.
A decline in the population, and the building of a new school at Cooper's Creek, reduced school numbers and P & C members, but fund raising is still carried on for school improvements by weekly euchre tournaments, and recently half an acre of peas was planted by the P & C. The children also are cultivating their own vegetable garden, while those children who left school in the last few years, I.e., the teenagers, are making their presence felt and are showing both willingness and eagerness to carry on the school traditions and improve the life of the community.
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