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