From the 1920s to today

NORTH SHORE SCHOOL  Geelong Advertiser  1926

Minister of Railways Opens

Speakers Portend Great Future for New Industrial Suburb

After apologising for the absence of the Minister of Education (Mr. J. Lemmon) the Minister of Railways (Mr. T. Tunnecliffe) yesterday afternoon officially opened the new brick State school at North Shore. During the course of his and other speakers’ addresses remarks were made that showed there is to surround the school a growing population in the new suburb.

The school was erected to take the place of one at North Shore township which had been conducted for about two years in the Presbyterian Church by the head teacher (Mr. R. Lindsay). The site was selected about mid-way between the North Shore and the Corio railway stations, and was considered to be suitable as it was not more than 100 yards distant from a central position between the Phosphate Company’s works, the Ford Company’s workshops, and the new distillery. The four acres of land cost the Education Department £1700, and the new brick school cost £3645 making a total of £5345. The school is the most modern in the shires surrounding Geelong, and was erected as a result of representations at first made by Mr. E. Morley, M.L.A., when North Shore was in his electoral districtand subsequently by Mr. R. T. Hjorth, M.L.A., when the Re-distribution of Seats altered electoral boundaries. There were 48 scholars on the roll when the classes were conducted in the Presbyterian Church. There are at present 39 enrolments, the number having been reduced on account of the Ford Company’s staff being decreased.

The school is situate in a low-lying position, surrounded by paddocks. Private roads have been surveyed, but will not be made until the land-owners and Corio Shire Council come to an agreement. Spark’s Road is the nearest approach to the school, and is 15 chains from the new building. Children who have to cross the railway line do so at considerable risk, and for that reason an application has been made to the Railways Department for a railway crossing.

The school committee, comprising Cr. G. F. Evans (president), Messrs. D. McClure (secretary), Porter and Finnegan and Mesdames Cook, McClure, and Nicholls have co-operated with the head teacher and his assistant (Miss Elliott) in a tree planting scheme, but there is scope for a great amount of work to be done in that respect.

The school has been divided into three large class-rooms, each being about 25 feet square. Two of the rooms can be made into one by the removal of glass doors which form a partition. The head teacher’s office, the assistant’s room, the library, store room and hall are conveniently situated between the classrooms. The lighting and ventilation, the installation of the water service and conveniences have all been carried out on modern design. The school can easily accommodate 150 pupils – about three times the present number. Amongst those present, in addition to the Minister of Railways, were Mr. Hjorth, M.L.A., Cr. J. Pettitt (President of Corio Shire), Cr. G. F. Evans (President of the school committee)and parents and the school committee. Thirty-six children saluted the Union Jack and then sang the National Anthem.

In introducing the Minister of Railways, who was taking the place of the Minister of Education (Mr. Lemmon) who had been prevented from opening the school on account of sickness, Cr. Evans stated that although the school had cost £3500 to construct and was at present too large for the children who attended it, the school committee realised that it would not be too large in a few years in such a growing area as North Shore. The school committee fully realised that it would have to carry out improvements to the school grounds such as planting more trees, filling the depressions and carting shell and material. At least £400 would be spent in that way, and the committee would expect the Department to give them £1 for £1 in the work. The Harbour Trust had consented to shell being carted from the beach to the school ground, and gradually they would have the improvements made. He then called upon Mr. Tunnecliffe to declare the school open, and handed him the key of the front door, over which was the number (4301).

Mr. Tunnecliffe regretted that Mr. Lemmon was unable to perform the opening ceremony on account of being laid aside by sickness. It was a pleasure for him to appear in Mr. Lemmon’s absence, as he realised that the school had been erected in a centre that was destined to become very important industrially. It might be said that the Education Department was too ambitious in erecting such a modern and large building at North Shore, but it had looked into the future, believing that it would not only be a school that would give the children inspiration to accept the best that was offered there by the Education Department, but that in the course of a few years it would be required to accommodate a great many more children than had been enrolled. The land and school had cost the Department £5345, the site having been selected with the idea of making it central in later years for the children who would attend it. At present they had to walk a little further owing to the site being away from the township, and that reminded him that when he was a boy he had walked four miles to school.

One significant thing about education in Victoria was the co-operation given to teachers and the Department by parents, who comprised the school committees and mothers’ clubs. There were about 15,000 members of school committees, and a like number of members of mothers’ clubs. The credit for these organisations could in a large measure be taken by Mr. F. Tate, who recently retired as director. If he did nothing else but organise those committees and clubs his name should be imperishable in the Department’s records. Those committees and clubs had raised between £40,000 and £50,000 annually for the benefit of the pupils.

In connection with the announcement made by Cr. Evans that the committee at North Shore was faced with an expenditure of £400 for improvements, he advised the committee to proceed with their plans and he felt sure the Department would acknowledge the work by writing a cheque for £200.

In declaring the school open Mr. Tunnecliffe said he hoped it would grow and prosper, and that it would be a matter of only a few years when it would be necessary to ask for it to be enlarged.

The children assembled in one of the class-rooms, and were introduced to the Minister of Railways by Cr. Evans, who preferred to be brief to allow Mr. Tunnecliffe to give the children the first address. Mr. Tunnecliffe won the children’s interest by telling them amusing incidents connected with school life, and concluded by appealing to them to remember that their school was to educate them to become useful citizens and to honour and respect their parents and teachers.

Mr Hjorth said that he had not become acquainted with North Shore until about twelve months ago, but he had grown to learn something of its great future. He hoped he would be long spared to represent that area, and that the residents would not fail to advise him of occasions when they required his attendance or movements that required his co-operation. Compared with conditions of school children of 30 and 40 years ago the boys and girls of today with free education had great privileges. He hoped they realised how much better off they were by the training they were getting today and by the co-operation of the school committees and mothers’ clubs with the Department. He hoped the day was close at hand when children would not be checked in their scholastic careers from the schools to the universities by want of money. He was looking to the time when education would be entirely free. Mr Tunnecliffe had absented himself from an important meeting in Melbourne to perform the opening of the school in place of Mr. Lemmon, thus proving he could discharge an important duty in another Minister’s duties. In connection with the tree planting he hoped the school committee would get all the trees they wanted and that they would ask for and plant only Australian trees. The Treasurer, because of the financial crisis, had had to give instructions that expenditure would have to be cut down in almost every Department. Fortunately, the Education Department was excluded, and that would allow the Minister and Director and officers to carry on their proposals. He wished the school committee, mothers’ club, teachers and children every success in their work.

Cr. Petitt reminded the children of the days when he was a school boy attending the Batesford school, and amused the boys and girls with some of the incidents he related of the early Geelong school days when parents had to pay threepence a day for the education of their children. He was pleased Mr. Tunnecliffe had visited North Shore that afternoon, because it gave him the opportunity to remind the Minister of Railways that a safe crossing over the railway was required for use by the children. The Railways Commissioners had replied to the Corio Shire Council that it would put in a crossing at the Council’s expense and on condition that it shared in the cost of maintenance. He hoped Mr Tunnecliffe would have some action taken to get the crossing constructed. In conclusion he also hoped the school would flourish, and that there would grow up around it a thriving township and a prosperous suburb.

Mr. Tunnecliffe informed Cr. Pettitt that he would keep in mind the reference to the railway crossing.

A vote of thanks to Mr. Tunnecliffe and the other visitors and speakers was carried by acclamation on the motion of Mr. D. McClure.

Afternoon tea was dispensed by the ladies, who also were thanked for their efforts to make the occasion enjoyable.


Be part of this website