Upper Coopers Creek
STATUS QUO MCMLIX
This publication presents the schools of the Ballina Inspectorate at this time – Education Week, 1959 – and their origins.
UPPER COOPER’S CREEK PUBLIC SCHOOL
When cedar getting was an important industry on the North Coast, settlements grew up in many coastal valleys. One such settlement was that of Upper Cooper's Creek. For many years school children from this valley fed into Repentance Creek School, which is approximately two miles distant. With the exhaustion of cedar resources inhabitants turned their eyes to banana growing and dairying and to a lesser degree to the growing of such small crops as peanuts, beans, peas and sweet potatoes.
SCHOOL IN HALL
Because of a growing population, and more especially that of school age children, local residents decided to erect a hall in which a regular school could be held. Generous subscriptions, voluntary labour and a strong public sense of progress, helped to see the hall, which met with Department of Education specifications and sanction, opened for school in February, 1949. Mr. I. Forbes was appointed as teacher-in-charge for the inaugural year. Teachers who have followed as teachers-in-charge of Upper Cooper's Creek School include Mr. K. Long, 1950; Mr. R. Lyndon, 1951-52; Mr. R. Rogers, 1953; Mr. J. Bowyer, 1954; Mr. R. Everingham, 1955-56-57, and Mr. R. Brown from 1958 to the present time.
The presence of the school was felt in many ways. One very noticeable inconvenience which disappeared when the school was opened in 1949 was that of travelling to and from Repentance Creek School. Another and more important one was that of bringing education - its aims, ideals and administration - much closer to the parents than was previously encountered. With enrolments in close proximity to twenty and the promise of stability in these numbers, the possibility of having a proper school building erected was taken up with the Department of Education. Permission for this being granted, land was purchased and work begun. The present school, which is of weatherboard construction, consisting of a large classroom, a store room, porch and two large verandahs, was used for the first time in May, 1955. Children now enjoyed a congenial environment in which to work.
P. & C. FORMED
Hand in hand with the beginning of school locally in 1949 came the inception of the Upper Cooper's Creek Parents and Citizens' Association. Since then a great deal of work has been done for this school by a public-minded community. Equipment such as a radiogram, a strip film projector, a set of encyclopaedias, library books, text books and a great number of minor but necessary school accessories have been liberally purchased by the parent body. A major work of note which was carried out at the school in 1957 was the levelling of a suitable playing area. As the district is particularly hilly and uneven this has proved of invaluable assistance in rendering physical education and games to the children. Work is still being carried on with top-dressing and the proper grassing of this portion of the school grounds. Already a basketball court has been erected and it is hoped that in the not so distance future other improvements such as the laying down of a cricket pitch and the construction of high bars and jumping pits will be realised. Untiring and diligent leadership has been given by Mr. V. Kopp, who has been honorary secretary of the P. and C. for the past ten years.
Many functions are held jointly by the school and the P. and C. Association. Tuck shops provide a miniature harvest festival with their great array of eats and produce, all being sold to generous parents by auction. This is one of the P. and C's. main sources of income. Every year, in October, a fancy dress ball is held as a social function. This and other dances held throughout the year provide helpful revenue. Another annual event is a day's Empire Day celebration. When possible, a guest speaker is invited to address the parents and children. The children render poems, songs and plays, all of which are appropriate to the occasion, and this is followed by sports during the afternoon. Besides these sports another day is set aside for a competitive athletic carnival at which various district schools compete. In August a week is set aside for Education Week. Parents get an opportunity to see the school children going about their normal routine during an Open Day. However, the climax of the school year is highlighted by the Christmas Tree function. Held in the last week of the school year, children present a varied programme and are afterwards treated to a party.
Upper Cooper's Creek School, being well equipped, and having an industrious P. and C., has created a happy working environment for its pupils and is playing a vital role in community life.
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