Swan Creek stu­dents span the gen­er­a­tions

The Daily Examiner - - NEWS SPECIAL REPORT -

IT WAS all about com­mu­nity at Swan Creek Pub­lic School.

For 16 years, Leon Grace was the teacher in charge at the small school un­til 1992, two years be­fore it closed.

When he took over in 1976 when Mr Grace was ap­pointed the teacher in charge (now known as a prin­ci­pal), there were 11 kids and it was set to close down at the end of the year.

“I was ini­tially ap­pointed to South Grafton Pri­mary and I was there less than a week,” he said.

“(The dis­trict in­spec­tor) said ‘go out to Swan Creek, there are 11 chil­dren, it will prob­a­bly close by the end of term one’.”

The school needed 12 to stay open, and by the end of the term, another child ar­rived.

“We never looked back, in fact we got to two teach­ers at one stage where we had 31 or 32 stu­dents,” Mr Grace said.

At the time, the Clarence Val­ley had a large num­ber of small schools, and Mr Grace said the fam­i­lies from all the schools would often get to­gether.

“We had some great pro­grams, prob­a­bly the most

out­stand­ing one was our an­nual out­door camp ... you would have Swan Creek, Nym­boida, Coutts Cross­ing, Wood­ford Dale, and Jackadgery all go off some­where for a com­bined small schools camp,” he said.

Mr Grace said the Swan Creek fam­i­lies were won­der­ful.

“Most of the fam­i­lies were sec­ond and third gen­er­a­tion fam­i­lies ... and many of whom has been through Swan Creek school as stu­dents,” he said.

“Added to that, the par­ents, it was their school – that is rule num­ber one, when you go into these small schools, it is a com­mu­nity school.

“And you are part of that com­mu­nity and they would bend over back­wards to pro­vide the school with im­por­tant items, whether it be a pho­to­copier or a whole set of new read­ers, they would raise the money and get them into the school.

“That was typ­i­cal of just about all those schools in the Clarence area. You might find that you’ve had a P&C pres­i­dent who’d been the pres­i­dent for 15 or 20 years,” Mr Grace said.

SUP­PLIED: LEON GRACE

FOND MEM­O­RIES: Swan Creek Pub­lic School en­sem­ble at the old Coles shop­ping com­plex in Grafton.

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