Wednesday, 14 January 2015

School history into the 1980s

The following is a selection of interesting accounts of school life that came to light through school records and recollections of past pupils.

On November 14th 1901 a severe hailstorm swept the district.  The damage to the school included 32 broken panes of glass and one window frame.  It was not until January the following year that repairs were completed.

In March 1909 permission was granted for the removal of the gallery in the school building.  The lighting was considered very bad and new windows were added.  In 1919 repairs had to be made to the school building to stop rabbits living under it.  They were doing considerable damage to the flower bed in the school garden.

Throughout the early part of this century many dances and fundraising events were held in the school to raise funds for books, pictures, a piano in the school.  In 1912 the former Head teacher, Adam Long, wrote to the Education Department complaining that dances had lasted until two or three o'clock in the morning causing him to have almost sleepless nights.

In one letter he wrote, “Will our Education Department sanction the use of our state school for dancing purposes, which I look upon as demoralizing to our youth and unmixed evil.  I taught for 27 years and never gave my sanction to such practices.”

Catherine Ritchie wrote on behalf of the school committee, explaining that the community did not have hall in which to conduct such fundraising activities and that all funds raised went to the benefit of the school.  Permission was then granted for dances to be held.  It seems that the dances were extremely popular in the district and attendances of up to 200 people were not uncommon.  It appearsthat many practical jokes were played on such occasions, particularly with the horses and buggies used to transport the participants.  Common tricks were to remove the horse from the shafts and harness it again back to front in the shafts.  Another popular prank was to put the shafts of the buggy through the fence and then harness the horse on the other side of the fence.  In the early 1930's a RedCross concert was held, with admission costing one shilling.  The dance raised over twenty pounds but during the night a huge downpour flooded many local streams and Mr. Norton Davidson recalls spending the night at the school as he was unable to get home on his bicycle.

Throughout much of the 1920's, Mr. Frank Young rode his bike from Ballarat each week to conduct Religious Education.

During the 1930's the school was granted an area, opposite the White Swan Hotel, as an endowment plantation.  On Arbor Day, each year, the children would walk to the site and plant pine trees.  The mothers would cut sandwiches for lunch at the hotel and an enjoyable day was had by all.  Although the trees would not have reached maturity at the time, there is no record of their fate when the reservoir was constructed.

In 1935 permission was given for the removal of pine trees which were casting shade on the vegetable and potato plots, affecting the growth of the patch.

In 1936, Mr. Giacometti, the Head Teacher purchased an Emmco, battery operated, wireless set for the sum of forty pounds.

After many requests for urgent works to be carried out on the school building, action was finally taken in 1937.  The building was raised, defective timbers were replaced, a new floor was installed and the building was painted.  The cost of these works was  £95-0-0.

Many stories came to light involving the teachers who have been appointed to Glen Park.  Mr. Pike, the Head Teacher in 1960, was remembered by his pupils for the many nature walks he conducted with them.  The students at the time played many practical jokes on Mr. Pike often hiding from him and on one occasion tying him to the flagpole.  On one occasion the children climbed to the top of a large gum tree and Mr. Pike climbed after them to bring them down.  The children quicklyclimbed down leaving Mr. Pike stuck up the tree.

To mark the 150th  anniversary of Victoria in 1985 the pupils at the time buried a time capsule at school.  The time capsule contained a range of items selected by the children including photographs, money, pens, pencils, etc..  The time capsule, located near the flagpole at the front of the building, is due to be raised in the year 2035.

The small pine trees around the perimeter of the school grounds feature in many of the early photographs.  By 1989 these had grown to a considerable height and had become dangerous.  Some of the pine trees on the southern boundary had been removed several years before and the remaining trees were cut down during 1989.

Snapshot at the front of the school in the 1960s ( after 1963)

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