This publication presents the schools of the Ballina Inspectorate at this time - Education Week, 1959 - and their origins.



Before 1887, there was no school, that is a State Public School, in the Eureka area. However, while he was selecting his own property, a Mr. A. Johnston applied to have the present school site, set aside as a future school ground. Accordingly, in 1887, a Government surveyor, a Mr. Thomas Ewing, later Sir Thomas Ewing, surveyed the area and in the same year the 10 acres were proclaimed a school site. Not long after that the first school was built. It was a single-roomed wooden structure, built in the early style of school buildings. As Eureka was once an area covered by thick rain forest or "The Great Scrub", as it was more usually known, the first school children to attend must have been surrounded by a wall of jungle, as it would be unlikely that the whole school grounds would have been cleared at that time. Incidentally, one of the last remaining patches of the Great Scrub, once very extensive on the North Coast, is still to be seen on the property of the son of the man who first had the foresight to look ahead and secure such a pleasant area for a school.

When the school was first opened, the teacher, Miss Cameron, had to travel from Clunes by sulky to teach at the school each day. Of course, the roads in those days were not like the present road of bitumen, which passes by the school, and on the rainy days of the part of the year when cyclones were prevalent, conditions of travel must have been far from pleasant for a woman on her own.

Some of the original school pupils are still living. Here are a few: Miss Amy Noble, now Mrs. Amy Ramsay; Walter, Victor and Ada Johnston, all children of Mr. A. Johnston; Mr. R. E. Noble, and Mr. L. T. Mortimer.

In 1911 a mysterious fire, broke out at night, during the winter and the school was totally destroyed. Many records of the early days were lost, so that the present Admission Register only goes back to 1916, the first entry of which is William Noble, a present Eureka resident, who is now a member of the Byron Shire Council. His sister, Miss A. Noble, now working at the "Dalmar" Home for children, heads the girls' side of the entries. During 1912, a new one roomed structure was built, the children during that time being temporarily housed in the Eureka Hall until the building was completed.


The school remained a one-teacher school until 1935, when a room was added to the second school building to accommodate the increasing numbers of children, and it remained d two-teacher school until the Second World War, when the numbers dropped below the required minimum. The school is still classified as a one-teacher school, although the numbers are increasing once again.

In 1917, the present school residence was built and in the last two years the school and residence has been supplied with Rocky Creek water. Electricity has been available for about five years.


Situated on a grassy incline and with one of the few fairly flat pieces of ground in the district, the present school has a view of the surrounding hill and from the recreation ground, a view of the Minyon Falls. The large grass covered playground has two large camphor trees which offer a cool playing area for the children in the hotter months of the year. Jacaranda trees provide a colourful show when they bloom in October.

At the lower end of the school ground there is the Recreation Ground, which is part of the ten acres. It is rented by the Education Department to the Recreation Ground Committee, who have built on it a cricket ground and more recently a tennis court. These amenities are always available to the children attending the school and two ex-pupils, Warren and Errol Noble, who have represented N.S.W. in junior cricket, are without doubt, products of such a civic-minded project.

Each year in August, the P.S.A.A.A. Zone 9 Athletics Sports Day is held on the above Recreation Ground and the schools from Bexhill, Eltham, Clunes, Nashua, Eureka, Repentance Creek, Upper Cooper's Creek, Federal and Goonengerry attend.

A strong P. & C. Association has been functioning and working for the school for many years, to provide the school with lunch tables, wireless, projector, duplicator, library and text books, pictures and a large sand pile. The current president is Mr. S. 0. Morrow, the secretary Mr. C. Mortimer and the treasurer Mr. N. Lee.

Past office holders have been Mr. W. Noble, Mr. N. Noble, Mr. R. Noble, Mr. S. Mortimer, Mr. S. A. Murphy, Mr. W. Weir, Mr. R. H. Weir, Mr. L. T. Mortimer, and Mr. A. J. Smith.

Finally, as a point of interest, the undermentioned list of names is the chronological order of the past teachers who have taught in the school from the time the school first opened until the present day. At least two are still resident in Lismore, where they teach in schools there.

Miss Cameron Mr. J. Mortimer Miss Curtain Mr. T. Colgin (H.M. Hamilton, Newcastle) Mr. Bodkin Mr. Tysoe Mr. R. Wright Mr. E. Rohan Mr. J. Bendeich Mr. Caldwell Mr. J. K. Greedy (Lismore) Miss Pratt Mr. E. E. McDonald (Lismore) Mr. Phillpott Mr. N. B. Black (present Mr. Atkins teacher)

North Coast School Histories

North Coast School Histories: as transcribed by Kathy Pearson and posted to NorCo List. STATUS QUO MCMLIX This publication presents the schools of the Ballina Inspectorate at this time - Education Week, 1959 - and their origins.