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