Bell tolls for mile­stone

School set to cel­e­brate its 150-year his­tory with fete, out­door movie and re­union

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - NEWS - Danielle Jarvis MT DRUITT-ST MARYS STAN­DARD, Wed­nes­day, Oc­to­ber 12, 2016

EAST­ERN Creek Pub­lic school is cel­e­brat­ing its 150th an­niver­sary this year, with fes­tiv­i­ties com­ing to a cli­max this month with a spe­cial fete, re­union din­ner and movie night.

Through­out its long his­tory, the school has been re­named and re­lo­cated at least three times – but its spirit al­ways has re­mained strong.

The school, orig­i­nally named Wall­grove Pub­lic School, was es­tab­lished on Oc­to­ber 15, 1886, at a site fur­ther south of the school’s cur­rent lo­ca­tion.

The school moved again some­time be­tween 1925-35 be­fore it fi­nally ar­rived at 200 Rooty Hill Rd in 1958.

Local leg­end sug­gests a con­vict by the name of Wil­liam “Lumpy” Dean (lumpy was a ref­er­ence to his size) ran a small class out of an inn at­tached to his house near East­ern Creek in the early 19th cen­tury.

The teach­ers be­lieve this was the very first “ver­sion” of what is now known as East­ern Creek Pub­lic School.

Year 3 and 4 teacher El­iz­a­beth Wal­lace said 150 years was a big mile­stone for such a small school.

“Not many schools get to 150 and I think it’s great for the com­mu­nity to know this lit­tle school has kept go­ing, and moved three times,” Mrs Wal­lace said. “It’s never got much big­ger than we are now – we’re 12 classes, we may have made it to 13 or 14, but that’s about the size of it.”

The school of 332 preschool to Year 6 stu­dents still rings the orig­i­nal bell from 150 years ago and proudly boasts a loyal fol­low­ing.

For­mer stu­dents send their chil­dren to the school after mov­ing out of the area.

Sheri­dan Shel­ton, who teaches English as an ad­di­tional lan­guage and has worked at the school for 17 years, said it had main­tained its fam­ily at­mos­phere.

“Be­cause it’s so small it’s just like a fam­ily and it’s got a charm and fam­ily feel to it,” Mrs Shel­ton said. “Peo­ple have got such warm mem­o­ries of this school and a lot of peo­ple have said ‘my time at East­ern Creek changed my life’.”

Olivia Speed, 12, Jade Horn, 8, and Emma O'Toole, 10, ring East­ern Creek Pub­lic School’s 150-year-old school bell and (right) the en­tire school cel­e­brates. Main pic­ture: Justin San­son

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