The his­tory of Val­ley ed­u­ca­tion

Hun­dreds of long-gone schools re­mem­bered in our past

The Daily Examiner - - NEWS SPECIAL REPORT - Cait­lan Charles cait­lan.charles@dai­lyex­am­

WHEN your par­ents re­lay sto­ries of how they got to school as a child, they often in­volve walk­ing through snow or trav­el­ling kilo­me­tre af­ter kilo­me­tre.

But even be­fore then, be­fore cars and buses, chil­dren in the Clarence Val­ley were mak­ing their way to school on foot or by horseback, hardly ever wear­ing shoes.

When you con­sider the lack of trans­port avail­able in the early stages of gov­ern­ment schools in NSW in the 19th and 20th cen­turies, it be­gins to make sense why there were hun­dreds of schools in the Clarence Val­ley in places you’d never think they’d be

From Lava­dia, where the new jail will be built, to Stron­tian Park on the Great Mar­low Rd and the for­mer gold min­ing set­tle­ment of Solferino, there was a need for schools in many places across the Clarence Val­ley.

With so many schools op­er­at­ing in such small towns, a lot of them were half-time with other schools, mean­ing chil­dren often didn’t get a full ed­u­ca­tion.

The gov­ern­ment school sys­tem be­gan in NSW in 1848, but it wasn’t un­til 1880 that manda­tory at­ten­dance was in­tro­duced. Chil­dren be­tween six and 14 years were re­quired to at­tend no less than 70 days in half a year.

How­ever, there were ex­cep­tions for stu­dents who lived more than two miles from the near­est school, was un­der reg­u­lar in­struc­tion, in­ca­pac­i­tated through sick­ness or other un­avoid­able causes, or was al­ready ed­u­cated to the re­quired stan­dard.

The last school to close in the Clarence Val­ley was Wood­ford Dale in 2012. COALDALE (COALCROFT)

The first school in Coaldale was on Lankey Creek Rd, be­fore the progress as­so­ci­a­tion pres­i­dent, Mr Cas­son, wrote to the dis­trict in­spec­tor and said the 21 chil­dren at­tend­ing the school did not have enough room to sit, and the school was likely to fall down.

Mr Ro­ley Smith do­nated the land for the new school on “Bel­lona” and it was built on the cor­ner of Lankey Creek Rd.

The school’s name was changed to Coalcroft af­ter a teacher who was sup­posed to go to Coaldale, near Wol­lon­gong, turned up ac­ci­den­tally. FERN GLEN (STOCKYARD CRK)

In 1882, a tem­po­rary school was opened with 40 chil­dren. Op­er­at­ing un­til 1935, it was a half-time school, shar­ing the teacher with other schools in the area like Go­rum Bo­rum and Up­per Smiths Creek.

A new school was built in 1919 and used un­til 1935. JACKADGERY

The first school at Jackadgery was held in Reeves barn, with the pro­vi­sional school open­ing on Oc­to­ber 10, 1913.

In 2004 it was re­ported the build­ing still stood but no longer used as a class­room.

The school was half-time with Heifer Sta­tion un­til 1940 when it closed and Jackadgery be­came a full­time school. When the Gwydir Hwy was con­structed, enrolments rose and in 1948 a larger class­room built.

Ea­tonsville School, 1919.

St Do­minic's, Har­wood, 1947-48.

Tre­nayr School, date un­known.

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