Bell beau­ti­fied

The Tatura Guardian - - News - By Tara Whitsed

The mys­te­ri­ous resur­fac­ing of Tatura Pri­mary School’s old school bell in Gipp­s­land, Vic­to­ria, last year has seen the ed­u­ca­tional antique re­stored and placed on dis­play in its for­mer home.

The bell was un­veiled at a spe­cial whole-school as­sem­bly on Mon­day last week, which was at­tended by for­mer prin­ci­pal Gary Hopcraft and teach­ers John Gray and Jeff Baker.

Tatura Pri­mary School prin­ci­pal Su­sanne Gill said she be­came aware of the bell’s where­abouts when she re­ceived an email from a Gipp­s­land-based his­tor­i­cal so­ci­ety.

‘‘It came with the story that it was taken by an ex-teacher and his wife who had de­cided to sell it,’’ Ms Gill said.

‘‘They pur­chased it think­ing it was of some his­tor­i­cal sig­nif­i­cance to them and it turned out to be from Tatura.’’

Ms Gill said the bell re­turned to its right­ful home late last year when the Tatura Men’s Shed went about restor­ing the huge piece of equip­ment.

Men’s Shed mem­ber Paul Berg said it took mem­bers sev­eral weeks to com­plete the process.

‘‘The restor­ing of the school bell was a com­bined ef­fort car­ried out by the Tatura Men’s Shed mem­bers,’’ Mr Berg said.

‘‘The bell it­self was in an awk­ward, aw­ful po­si­tion.’’

Mr Berg said the mem­bers worked to grind the bell back as much as they could and re­moved all the rust, so that the bell could swing on the at­tached bar af­ter all those years locked into po­si­tion.

‘‘I got some lovely red gum, which was do­nated by Alma Moar and made up a de­sign for the frame and took it toMs Gill and they were rapt,’’ he said.

Mr Berg said the tim­ber had his­tor­i­cal sig­nif­i­cance in its own right, hav­ing been sourced fromthe Old Rail­way House in Tatura.

Ms Gill said the bell was on dis­play in the school’s front of­fice and en­cour­aged past stu­dents and staff to come and take a look.

The for­mer staff mem­bers present at the un­veil­ing pro­vided cur­rent stu­dents with an in­sight into what the ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem was like decades ago.

‘‘Gary Hopcraft (who gave the for­mal speech) sang an old school song from when he was here,’’ Ms Gill said.

And for­mer mu­sic teacher Jeff Baker said he touched briefly on his time at the school as a strug­gling young teacher in 1966-69 and when he re­turned in 1984.

Mr Berg said he en­joyed hear­ing tales from fel­low Men’s Shed mem- bers who used to get in trou­ble for ring­ing the bell when they at­tended the school.

‘‘It was a labour of love; to do some­thing for the Tatura com­mu­nity and bring back the mem­o­ries of the old school bell,’’ he said.

Supplied by Jeff Baker Re­stored: For­mer Tatura Pri­mary School prin­ci­pal (1985-94) and phys­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion teacher (1963-65) Gary Hopcraft, Tatura Men’s Shed mem­ber Paul Berg and Tatura Pri­mary School prin­ci­pal Su­sanne Gill at the spe­cial un­veil­ing of the school’s re­stored bell.

Blast from the past: Present Tatura Pri­mary School stu­dents heard sto­ries of the school dur­ing times past.

Meet­ing place: Stu­dents gather at Tatura Pri­mary School in De­cem­ber 1969. Pic­ture: Supplied by Jeff Baker

Un­veil­ing: Gary Hopcraft, Paul Berg and Su­sanne Gill un­veil the bell at a spe­cial school as­sem­bly last week.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.