SCHOOLING AT AUSTRALIND
Compiled by Maidee W. Smith
From records in the Battye Library, Education Department files, Microfilm of old Bunbury Newspapers, "Alverstoke" by Miss Emily Clifton, "State Education in Western Australia" by Dr D Mossenson, "Bunbury Parish" by Father Martin Newbold and the Diaries of R H Rose of Parkfield.
In W.A in 1850 schools were few and attended by less than half the children in the state. Funds were scarce and the settlers struggling. They also needed their children to help on their farms.
Not until 1840 was a serious attempt make establish an education system. In 1847, Acting Governor Fredrick Irwin, a staunch Anglican, established and Education Committee whose first task was to draw up plans for elementary instructions. The our come was a scheme which provided religious instruction in a form that was acceptable to Protestants, but not to Roman Catholics who already had their own schools.
No solution could be found until 1840 when the new Governor Captain Charles Fitzgerald gave a separate grant to the Roman Catholic Church thereby perpetuating a dual system similar to that which later became a feature of other parts of Australia.
From: Colonial Australia Before 1850.
SCHOOLING AT AUSTRALIND
During the early years of settlement, tutors and governess' taught the children of Marshall Waller Clifton. The names of early teachers were B Stout, Joseph Farrell and Maurice Brett Smith. Mr Smith had come to Australind from Dublin to be tutor to the Clifton children and later became the first settler to take up land in what is known as the Harvey district. His land was northwest of Harvey and he settled there in 1844. He was sometimes referred to as "Uduc Smith" but also as "Cast-iron Smith" because he was the first settler in the area to import fencing in his farm.
The Clifton children were educated by governess' and tutors for about ten years as the first Government school to be opened in Australind began in 1850 and Charles Ommaney was the first teacher. In the diary of Robert H. Rose (Snr) of Parkfield, he notes on 22 December 1859 - "Went to Australind to the examination of the school children a great credit to their master".
In 1861, Mr Jones was in charge of the school with 15 children in his care. This seems to be the same man who later tutored the Forrest children in Picton and then was the head teacher at the Picton School for many years. On the roll were three Cliftons, three Dunns, four Rodgers, two Rowlands and one Withers; their parents had to pay to send them to school. The charges were for 1st term 1 pound10 shillings and 10 pence (about $3.10). 2nd term 1 pound 9 shillings and 10 pence (about $3.05) 3rd term 1 pound 9 shillings and 2 pence (about $2.90) and 4th term 1 pound 9 shillings and 10 pence (about $2.90). The fees charged were part of the teacher's salary, however the teacher had no authority to exclude children who parents refused to pay and with such small attendance's, their incomes were not increased by much.
The status of a schoolteacher was very low as many tradesmen and clerks earned more than they did so the better type of person preferred these jobs to teaching. Especially bad in this respect were the small schools in remote districts where the caliber of many schoolteachers was not very high. This persisted for many years throughout the state as the population increased, but the facility for training reaches, other than as monitors or pupil teachers, was not available until the Claremont Teachers Training College opened in 1902.
In 1868, Mr. William Adkinson, headmaster of the Perth Colonial Boys School was appointed as part time inspector of schools and set out to prepare a report on West Australian schools for the general board of Education. His report revealed that the irregularity of attendance and early leaving were prevalent that the irregularity of attendance and early leaving were prevalent weaknesses and with few exemptions, the standard of work was unsatisfactory.
One of the Clifton girls, Miss Sophia Louisa Clifton, took over as a teacher in 1865 and he signature appears on the roll of 1967, which is now in the archives. As in small rural schools, the numbers fluctuated and declined so much at times that the schools were closed. Another Clifton, Charles went on to become Secretary to the Education Board in Perth. The first to hold this post was Mr L. Eliot who it up in 1871. Me Clifton resigned from the post in 1887.
Among the pupils at the Australind School at that time were R. Cecil Clifton, his three younger brothers and his sister Isabella. Cecil Clifton attended the school from the age of 8 years to 15 years and with his brothers and sister stayed with their grandparents at the Upton House as it was too difficult to travel to the school each day from Alverstoke. Sometimes there were as many as 22 Clifton's staying at Upton House. Cecil later became very well known for his musical ability and for the number of organs, which he built.
During this time, the number of school age children from the many Irish families settled on the East Side of the Leschenault Estuary increased and a Roman Catholic School began in 1872 to cater for them. This prompted fears among the settlers that the government school would close due to lack of numbers. This fear was well grounded as at the end of 1878; both Parkfield and Australind School were closed.
In the 1870's there was a grave shortage of trained teachers due to the rapid growth of government schools and during the time of the 35 masters employed, there were convicts "on bond" and fifteen were ex-convicts! The salaries they received were pitifully low and such poor earnings perpetuated inferior teaching. The amount ranged from 25 pound to 50 pound, ($50 to $100) per year plus any fees they could raise from the pupils.
In 1871, Miss Clifton had 14 pupils but in 1872 there were only 9 on the roll. The Roman Catholic children left to attend their own school. The Catholic education system had expanded due to the government subsidy authorised by the Elementary Education Act of 1871. In the year, there were 13 Catholic Schools operating in Western Australia. This number had expanded to 17 in 1875; these new schools being at Australind, Geraldton, Greenough and Northampton. However these small rural schools were very difficult to staff and administer so the Catholic Church decided to concentrate on the 15 schools they had in the large towns. In about 1880, the Australind Roman Catholic Provisional School was closed down.
In the "Southern Advertiser" of 17th July 1888 is an article about the school at Australind from "an occasional correspondent". This would have been the government school and the teacher was Elizabeth Murphy. The Catholic children attending that school would have had their own religious instruction from Farther Delaney who was in charge of the Church in Bunbury. The "old Catholic schoolroom" was being used for church services by the many Irish families in the district. Father Delaney remained in Bunbury for six years and was succeeded by Dean L.M Martelli who served the Parish for seventeen years.
The article is reproduced here from the "Southern Advertiser" with all the flowery language current at the time. I quote:
"The following is the experience of a traveller and a description of the country lying between Dardanup and Lake Preston. Written Lake Preston 4th July 1888.
On my way, I was compelled to stay at Australind where I was greeted with one of those kind, generous, hospitable receptions. Coupled with a time honoured and genuinely warm hearted "Cead Mitle Failthe", ever so characteristic and best aquatinted with the time honoured manners and customs and genuine unfeigned hospitality of the Irish race by hearths and homes the world over. And in one of their hearths and homes occupied by souls who are not wanting in any true sentiment of the highest orders of the national character. I received every kindness and courtesy from my kind lady hostess, Miss Elizabeth Murphy, I offered an opportunity of visiting the Australind Public School of which I have formed some very pleasant recollections. The school is situated in the centre of the village, which is in many respects, a garden home. The richness of the soil, which is of a swampy nature, its situation on the banks of the Leschenault Estuary and its proximity to the town ship brought it early into settlement.
The tilled portions of the ground yield most satisfactory result, whether in grain, hay, the flavour of potatoes and other vegetables or the luxuriance of fruit. The old plan of farming here was the small acre system but large farms are becoming in the southern as in the Northern Hemisphere and in the one place as in the other. Progress of culture is not always accompanied by a growth of happiness among the people; although a bit of ground is no small cause of pleasure to its possessor while it increases his sense of independence and softens the tone of his manners.
The school building I am about to describe is wood plastered and whitewashed. Inside, the frames, maps, lesson boards and other various apparatus of a school of high position gave altogether a lively appearance to the room, the floor scrupulously clean and the children exhibited a most laudable system of external propriety, whilst the instruction is of a both sound and extended nature. The arithmetic, geography and grammar were excellent; the reading and writing being thoroughly of replies to general questioning and here the lessons read were thoroughly understood and on the whole, there appeared a most remarkable regularity and precision about school.
The boys and girls, who are with few exceptions, of the Irish parents, have all the laughing eye and active gait of their parentage but here everything was most orderly and correct. There was a place for everything and everything was in its place; there was no idle chatter among these lively scholars and no rudeness of behaviour and I was much pleased to witness something more than mere mechanism of discipline. There was a quiet, subdued manner about the children, which is uncommon as it is highly gratifying to witness. The co-operation rather than competitive, seemed to prevail in the system, the extension of emulation often so painfully exhibited was altogether absent here. The very animation of the juvenile character seemed subject to gentler influence, but with this there was no gloom on the countenance or appearance of forced regularity, all seemed easy and natural in the extreme. The tone of voice, the expressions to each other, the confiding look to the mistress was alike, simple and kind. The children present on the whole had the appearance of good health, combined with happiness, comparatively handsome, plump and fair with regular features, good humored smiles and bright, intelligent eyes, sufficient to attract the attention of all observant traveler's.
The locality has happily escaped the vices and misery elsewhere known and has not been invaded as other arts of the colony by many new incomers. There is a settled, virtuous, happy community established here with more educational and moral advantages than any place of its size in the colony. Various religious bodies are represented here. But the Roman Catholics are the most influential and pretty will engross the school through the long-standing body and the present devoted Pastor, the Rev. I I Brady, who is an ardent and zealous advocate and patron of education. Combined with moral and religious energy and devotion to the cause has wrought many great things in the district.
Though at present this is an exclusively government school, a visitor may readily recognise an intelligence and respectability above the average, the personal cleanliness and neatness form a mark feature about them all. I feel convinced that the very superior training in schools give them superior taste and propriety in dress and disposition of their little ornaments.
There is an ease of manner and softness of expressions, an intelligence of language seldom met with in public schools of higher standard. With the perfection of discipline, there is no more restraint observable than in a well-ordered and united family. The very amiable and worthy mistress, Miss Elizabeth Murphy, who has held charge of this school for several years past, has rendered the faithful discharge of her duties to full and entire satisfaction of all parties, classes and creeds and with the higher honour to herself. This lady (young) who, since her arrival in this colony, has most deservedly secured for herself in recognition of her many virtues, a reputation of the highest order. Commanding the universal respect of all classes of the community, within a radius of 30 miles around her and the entire and lasting confidence and love of her pupils and their parents.
Miss Murphy is of pre-possessing appearance, combining a calm and dignified bearing, with the sweetest of tones and the utmost benignity of regard. Her countenance is an object lesson and I must say I have known some able master's and mistresses during my own personal experience although not profiting as much as I might have done. Nevertheless, I have experienced many able teachers of both sexes and I consider myself a decided opinion upon the merits of teaching. In this instance, I was placed before one whom, for tact in illustrations, power of control, ability to communicate and a magnetic influence upon a class. Proved herself equal to the most accomplished teachers, I have previously known and I felt as though awakening to the sudden consciousness of being in the presence of a most powerful and eloquent lecturer. My pleasure increased as the lesson gradually assumed a moral phase and the rapt audience of the children her soft voice tell them to be good ad faithful children and to love one another".
Miss Ferris was teaching at Australind in 1892 and the Department Inspector described her school as "one of the best bush schools visited that year". The building was found "suitable", though the teaching apparatus was "scanty". The average attendance was 12 pupils. Although commended by the inspector, he also noted that Miss Ferris has no qualifications and recommended that she should sit for her Certificate of Competency. This examination was a lasting reform which the inspector of schools, Mr William Adkinson, introduced to certify teachers on the basis of written examinations. The standard was mediocre, but it was a beginning and eventually there was no employment in government schools without the Certificate.
Owing to "lack of numbers", the Australind school was closed on the 2nd December 1896. At the time, Miss Buchanan was the teacher and the Parkfield School in Buffalo Lane at the head of the Leschenault Estuary was also closed, leaving the whole of the Australind area without a school.
Settlement was taking place near Brunswick at this time and some of the parents suggested two half time schools could be opened with Clifton Area and Australind sharing a teacher. This had been refused as the Clifton Area parents had been told to send their children to the Roelands School.
A year later, in 1897 the "old school house at Australind" was mentioned as being in the possession of the six Congressional Church Union. Mr Buchanan, who lived opposite the church in "Henton Cottage", was a Minister of the Congregation Church; he later offered the building to the Education Department for 8 pound ($16.00 approx.) a year rent if they would use it as a school, however, they declined to resume school there. This is the building now owned by the Anglican Church and called St. Nicholas in Paris Road.
There was much agitation over the next few years for a school to be opened at Australind as there were about 18 children who needed schooling, however, the older ones were not going to resume in the following year. As more children grew to school age and were not getting any education. On the 3rd December 1902, Mr Frank Travers wrote to the Education Department suggesting that a school be built at the "8 mile post" on the Coast Road at Australind as it would be convenient to most of the children. He enclosed a list of he children requiring schooling. A previous list had been sent on 19th August 1901, which resulted in the opening of a "provisional" school at Australind on the 3rd March 1902. Which had closed on the 27th June 1902; there were six boys and nine girls on the roll but this was not enough to remain open.
The list comprised of the child's name, their age and the distance they lived from the "8 mile post". There were 12 children, as listed below, but the older ones of 12 years would not have continued at school for long. At the time, it was compulsory to attend school from 6 years to 14 years of age; the Education Amendment Act had introduced this regulation in 1899, however many children still lived miles (Kilometres) from a school and did not attend all their lives. The children then living around Australind were:
NAME MILES FROM SCHOOL AGE
Daisy Piggott Colin Piggott Maud Piggott Edward Piggott 2 Miles 11 years 9 years 7 years 6 years
Leonard Travers Mabel Travers Linda Travers Lillian Travers 2 Miles 11 years 9 years 8 years 6 years
Lizzie Wright Agnes Write 1 Mile 11 years 6 years
Daisy Crampton Kate Crampton 3 Miles 12 years 7 years
George Rodgers Florrie Rodgers Alexander Rodgers 2 Miles 11 years 9 years 6 years
Geoffrey Hough Gabriella Hough 3 Miles 12 years 6 years
For some time, there was a dispute about the siting of the school as land had to be acquired. Another list was submitted, signed by the parents and residents of Australind with the addition of these children's names;
Thomas Rodgers 4 miles
Michael Rodgers 4 miles
William Jas Piggott 2 miles
Frank Travers 1 mile
The residents of Australind area who signed were Margaret Travers, Francis Travers, Michael Travers, W.J Piggott, Rose Piggott, Lewis Piggott, Herbert Piggott, Caroline Piggott, P. Dunne, Mary Dunne, D Rodgers, T Kearnan, E Kearnan, Mary Ferris, Bill Ferris. Michael Ferris, F. Joseph Clifton, L.C Clifton, C.E Clifton, Charles Wright, Elizabeth Wright, George Bliss, M. Dunn, John Dunn, May Travers, James Travers, M Travers, R Oldham, W Oldham, James Milligan (snr.), Eliza Milligan, Mary Milligan, L Travers, Thomas Milligan, Frank Rodgers, Francis Milligan, John Milligan. Ellen Rodgers, Michael Rodgers, Tom Rodgers, Amy Rodgers, William Rodgers, Mrs Rodgers (Snr.), George Rodgers, P.T Rodgers, Joseph Rodgers and C Wright (Jnr.).
Various suggestions were made as to a suitable site. Mr Patrick Dunn was approached to sell some of his one-acre block on the northern corner of Paris Road and the Old Coast Road, but he refused to sell. A survey was made of a house which the Reverend Mr Darling had on half and acre in Paris Road, roughly where the Australind Hall now stands, but although he was willing even anxious t rent it to the Department, they considered it too small and unsuitable.
There did not seem to be anywhere to go which was acceptable. The Roman Catholic Church had purchased land in Australind, north of the town and offered to build a school there which would be big enough for 25 pupils, but the Department was not prepared to rent premises.
Father Martelli wrote several times on the matter, but his offers were finally refused in a letter from the Department on 5th March 1903. The Reverend Darling again offered his cottage after eleven months had passed with no school for the children, but was again refused. The clergy had taken and interest in schools for the children since the beginning of the colony. Reverend Darling helped other areas to organise the parents and apply for schools for their children. While a few years before in 1872, Reverend Joseph Withers of the Rectory in Bunbury, was quoted in "the Southern Times" of 7th May as regretting the fact that there was no school at Ferguson and " as a result 27 children were roaming the bush with no schooling".
Father Martelli too was endeavoring to have a school opened and finally offered the old Roman Catholic Provisional School to the Department, free of charge, to use as a school. The offer was accepted and Reverend Darling and the parents at Australind were notified that a government school would open in Australind in the Roman Catholic School. Mrs. Rodgers a local resident began teaching there on 3 March 1902. In June of that year, Father Martelli wrote to the Department to notify them the church would require 1 pound ($2.00) a month rent for the premises. The said it had been offered "free" until June 1902; no other premises were available. Manning's Cottage north of Upton house was considered "useless for school purposes" while one of Clifton's old building near Upton House was not suitable either.
Father Martelli also claimed that the land to be resumed form the WA land Company really belonged to the Catholic Church and should be purchased from them, however, when told to prove their title to it, he was unable to do so. A sum of 250 pound ($500) was provided in the estimates for the school. This sum would only provide the cheapest type of building.
Although the Roman Catholic Church, their old school, was in fair repair, the Department felt it was no really suitable for school purposes. When Mr. Frank Travers wrote again asking when the school would be built, the Department replied that the present Roman Catholic building was not suitable and the process for the resumption of land for a school site had begun. It was now the 9th December 1904 and the settlers had been striving for yeas to get a satisfactory school. There were 12 girls and 8 boys receiving schooling that year.
A site was chosen on what is now the Scenic Drive and negotiations must have been through Mr Clifton who was agent for the W.A Company to whom it belonged. This was the land, which Father Martelli mistakenly believed belonged to the Catholic Church.
The building commenced early in 1905 and there were 9 girls and 8 boys being taught by Miss Kate Herrick in the rented premises. In June of that year, she wrote "the contractor is transferring material from the old school stock from the old to the new school". Earlier that year, Miss Herrick had been asked to remove the school stock from the settlers' church (presumably St Nicholas in Paris Road) as they needed the room; it seems the building of the school and the quarters may have taken longer than expected. Although the building wasn't finished - its completion date was 20th October 1905 - Miss Kate Herrick wrote " the school furniture was removed to the new building on Wednesday evening after school. We opened school there on Thursday 1st June 1905".
The resumption of the land was finalized on the 25th September 1905 and was Reserve No.8616 of 1 ace, 3 roods and 33 perches and included the land west of what was the Coast Road and is now Scenic Drive. The children used this strip of estuary foreshore as their playground and it was fenced on three sides being open to the road and school. This was Lot No. 47 and is now Public Open Space along the foreshore.
A verandah was recommended for the East Side of the school with 21 feet of seating to be used by the children at lunch times when it was wet. The verandah was added and measured 22 feet by 7 feet with wood enclosing the south end. It cost 50 pound ($30) to install but by July on 1906, both the state and verandah needed repairs so it could have been a very sturdy structure.
The Inspector Mr. H Gamble paid a visit to the school in February of 1907. From 1902 the inspectors did not give all the examinations to the children as before' their own headmasters gave the exams and showed the results to the Inspectors. They sometimes gave quick tests of knowledge but were really inspection the teachers work with the students.
Schools were still served by pan toilets (and were for 40 or more years to follow) and a contractor usually removed these at night, hence the name "night soil". The teacher, Miss B Nicholas had to report to the Department in April of 1907 that the contractor was burying the night soil in the school grounds instead of removing it. Miss Nicholas was at the school until January 1908 when she left. On leaving, she deposited the keys of the school for safe keeping with the Post Mistress Miss Clifton, at Upton House. There were 9 girls and 9 boys in the school during her time as teacher.
Water too, was often a problem at schools and nearly all of them depended on rein water tanks. In some country Schools, children had to bring their own drinking water by the end of summer. Miss May Kearney, who began teaching at Australind in February 1909, asked for a bigger water supply for the school. Mr Joseph Clifton was engaged to put down a spear for fore water and to install a pump. The type of ump he used was called an Abyssinian. This was soon operation and saving the Department the cost of another rainwater tank.
To make a proper play ground for children, an area of the yard was graveled in March 1912 and a path to the school was repaired. The numbers attending were fluctuating as ever and in February of 1914, Mr John Bradshaw was the teacher with 15 children enrolled. When J.A. Wood took over on 15th July 1914 only 7 children were in attendance.
In 1915, Mr L Cargeeg wrote to the Department suggesting that the Australind School should be closed, which would keep up the numbers at the Parkfield School where there were 9 children. When school opened in January 1916 with J.A. Wood still in charge, the average attendance was 12 so by June of that year, the decision was made to create two half time schools as the best way to educate the most children. So on the 12th June 1916, Australind and Parkfield began operation with George Petterson as teacher. Mr Petterson stayed for some time, through 19171918 and 1919, but was replaced in February of 1920 by William J. Brisden. Mr Brisden didn't stay long and Mr Les J. Sawyer took his place on 12th May 1920.
Mr Sawyer told the Department he found the schoolhouse in a dirty condition as it had not been lived in for two years. He was being married in July and wanted the quarters done up, however he came in for some criticism himself from the Department for keeping his horse in the children's shelter shed and was told to remove it and clean all the manure away. Extensive bush fires raged throughout the Southwest in March of 1921 and it was reported in the paper that " the Australind School was burned, together with Marriott's and Collier's homesteads. Mr G Money's pastures was all burnt, but his house was saved", this was in the West Australian on 11th March 1921. It couldn't have been completely burnt out as later that year it was suggested that the quarters be enlarged by adding the old quarters from Roelands to it.
A contractor was engaged to do the work. This was Mr J.G Hough, a well-known builder from Bunbury. The cost was to be 150 pounds ($300) and the work was t commence on 26th April and be completed by the 7th May 102. The numbers were dropping again, and in 1925 the teacher was still Mr Les Sawyer, with just enough pupils to keep the school open, but by the 13th April 1928 the school was closed, due to low attendance. In May the District Inspector advised the Department that as the school was no longer required it would be made available for removal or letting. Apparently nothing was done, and as it was a popular holiday spot, campers began to use it. A local resident Miss E Milligan wrote to the Department that campers were using the old school, and it was becoming very dilapidated. In July of 1929, it was suggested that the school be removed to Boyanup as the children there were using the local Hall. However in August Miss Milligan wrote again to the Department, they should re-open the school and detailing the number of children requiring schooling then and in the near future. These were:
Kathleen Pearce (12 years),
Peter (11), Joan (5), Hilda (11) and Max Rodgers (7).
Dorothy (6), Charley (4), Brian (1) Plunkett.
Maria (9), David (7), Charles (4), Wright
Patsy Rodgers (1 ).
The suggestion that closing the Parkfield School would make more children available at Australind was opposed by the families at the head of the Estuary. Nothing more was done until March of 1930, when Mrs. Frank Rodgers wrote to the department requesting the re-opening of the school as she was most anxious for her children to attend school. The children requiring schooling were the same as before with the addition of Ritchie Plunkett (9) and Vida May Karlsen from Huffman's Mill, who was in the care of Agnes Plunkett at that time. The Department replied that the school could be re-opened as an "assisted" school, with the parents making up the teacher's wage to at least 54 pound ($108) per year. The parents felt they could not afford to meet these conditions; the Depression was being felt everywhere.
By April of 1931, the children listed as having no schooling were: Hilda, Max and Patricia Rodgers, David and Bertie Wright, Vida, Matilda and Vernon Karlsen, Dorothy, Charlie and Brian Plunkett, Emma and Georgina Trayer and Kathleen Pearce. The District Inspector recommended that the school be re-opened on 1st of July 1931, and that a single teacher be appointed. On 20th July 1931 Mr F.J O'Dwyer arrived with his family to re-open the school. This family remained at Australind through the '30's, but the numbers at the school dropped off again and by the 10th June 1941 the school had to be closed. Mr G Pearce offered to caretake the premises free of charge. In July 1941, Mr C. Rodgers wrote to the Department asking if the school building were for sale, also the water tanks, while Mrs. Milligan had also asked if the tanks were for sale, but the Department replied to both that they were "not for sale".
By February of 1942 another group of children were old enough to require schooling. With the difficulties of wartime and the rationing of petrol they could not go far for they're schooling. Mrs Coutas wrote to the Department with a list of the school age children and a request that the school be re-opened. The children were:
Helen (14), Peggy (9), Beth (8), Lexie (6), and Oliver (5) Coutas. Norma Rodgers (10), Patricia Rodgers (14), Maureen (7) and John (6) Rodgers, Maureen White (12), Brian (9) and Audrey (11) Smith and the daughter of Winifred Travers who had been sent to stay in Bunbury to attend school but would return home if the school was re-opened. As the school was in a neglected state, the parents offered to have a busy-bee to clean it up and also clean out the quarters. The re-opening of the school was approved and it re-opened on the 20th of February 1942, with Mrs. May Wells as the teacher.
It was six years before the numbers again became too small to sustain the school. Mrs. Wells wrote to the Department on 6th October 1948, to say the school would have to close due to the low numbers. It closed on the 29th October and the remaining children were taken to school in Bunbury each day by bus. The District Inspector Mr Bill Rourke, wrote to the Department in November of 1948 asking if they would leave the school building to be used by the Bunbury Road Board as a Community Centre. The Australind Progress Association wrote also to support the idea as all the members of the Association were from the dis -banded Parent's and Citizen's Association of the school.
There was a request to the Department to rent the premises for the summer holidays of 1948 but this was refused. Also a Mr Mammolite of Brunswick Junction was interested in purchasing the land and buildings, or just the buildings; while Mrs Plunkett wrote inquiring if the tanks were for sale. The Department replied that neither the land, buildings nor tanks were for sale. In May of 1951 the premises were let to the Harvey Road Board. The buildings were subsequently demolished and the site marked by pine trees and two white gum trees (one of which was chopped down by vandals in the 1970's), was re-gazetted as Reserve No.8616, being changed from "school site" to "caravan parking", on 18th of March 1952. It became a favourite camping spot, but later the Road Board erected a "No Camping" sign on it.
There is now a caravan park nearby. The money from the sale, 100 pound ($200) was held in trust by the Road Board towards a future hall in Australind. It was 1957 before the Progress Association was in a position to proceed with a meeting room/hall annex in Australind. They raised finance and got donations of building materials, then had busy - bees to build the small room which stood among the trees on Paris Road for many years before being replaced by the new hall.
Few of the traveler's passing along Cathedral Avenue, also called Scenic Drive would ever realise that a school was on that site for nearly fifty ears. Many of its pupils or their descendants live in the district, but now their children or grandchildren do not have to go to Bunbury or as in later years to Eaton for their primary schooling. They can now attend what is really the fifth school in Australind, which was opened in 1980 to serve a rapidly growing district where many young families have settled. Numbers are growing rapidly and another Roman Catholic School is envisaged in the future, while a High school should be built in a few years beside the existing primary school. Quite a big change from the many times the previous schools in Australind was closed "from lack of number".