GHEZIRAH SCHOOL (BRUNSWICK)


By Maidee Smith


A letter was sent to the Education Department on March 1st 1932 suggesting the formation of a school, the children in the area mostly being on correspondence lessons. The families who would use the school were Cruishank - 3 children, Stanley - 2 children, Proctor - 2 children, England - 1 child, Harding - 3 children, and there could be four more who would attend. The Department was not very helpful and replied that the children should continue with their correspondence lessons.


Another letter was sent by Mr. Stanley on April 18th 1932 saying the parents had considered setting up an assisted school, but financially things were bad and they could not guarantee paying the fee required. The Education Department again replied that a school in the area could not be justified, as the Brunswick School was only three miles away. The only farm further than this was Proctors', which was five miles from the school.


Mr Stanley tried again in June 1932 and told the Department he would offer any site on the Wellesley River frontage of Block 14 for a school while Mrs. Harding could offer a separate bedroom and board for a teacher. There were two boys and six girls needing schooling. These were Mabel Harding and her children Norma, aged 6 & Rosalind aged 9; TB Stanley and his children Bernard, aged 6 and Jennet aged 9; E Cruikshank and his children Betty aged 8 and Mignon aged 6. The religion of all the children was Church of England.


Only an assisted school could be provided, so finally the parents agreed to this, with the teacher to be paid 54 pound per annum clear, above board and lodgings, with a grant from the Government of 12 pound per annum.


A camp of road workers had been established nearby and in June 1932, three of these children wanted to join in with the Stanley children for schooling. Mr Stanley had had some correspondence with May Holman, the politician, and wrote to thank her for her help in the matter. He wrote again, asking if she could recommend a suitable teacher and to assure anyone she did send, would find a good home on her arrival.


By July 1932 it was all organised for the school to begin. The furniture and stock had been sent from Perth to Brunswick and the teacher Mr Struthers had been engaged. A further pupil had asked for admittance. This was Harold, the son of the Gardiner family who worked at the State Farm. Harold had been suffering from a leg injury which had kept him from school for 10 months, and the Ghezirah School would be close enough for him to attend, as he could not walk in to Brunswick.


The schoolroom was in the Stanley's home in a room set up for it, and started with nine children on the role - three of them the Tomas children from the road camp. Before Harold Gardiner was admitted, the Department told his parents that a medical certificate on the condition of his leg would be required. This was obtained.


At the beginning of 1933 it was obvious that there was not enough support for the school to continue, and it was closed temporarily on January 13th. On January 20th 1933 the Department wrote saying, "if the school is not to re-open, please transfer furniture and stock to Brunswick for use elsewhere". Mr Stanley had tried very hard to get the support of the other parents, but had to write to the Department saying the school will have to close. He had decided to send Rosalind to boarding school in Perth and had arranged to deliver his milk to Brunswick, so he could take Bernard to school there.


So the school was officially closed from December 31st 1932; the goods and furniture packed up and taken to Brunswick in April of 1933. These were then sent to the new school, which was opening in North Boyanup. So the pattern was repeated, of small country schools closing and another opening elsewhere, to bring education to the isolated farm children of that time.


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