North Creek


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


In the year 1842 or thereabouts, two settlers known as "Emigrant" Williams and "New Chum" Ainsworth arrived on the Richmond River. Mr. Williams settled upstream on what was to be known as "Emigrant's" creek, while Mr. Ainsworth settled further to the north on what was to be called the North creek.

Education was something dreamed about, but several young lads and lasses were sent off to Sydney in sailing vessels to become educated. Mr. Williams, father of Mrs. Torrens of Ballina, was educated in this manner.

North Creek was the only transport link with the outside, settlers rowing with the tide to Ballina for supplies. As time went by, a common sight on the creek was "Grandad" Jim Ross rowing to Ballina with the mail, from his post office on the eastern bank.


By the late seventies, the need was felt for a school, and, in 1882, the North Creek School was opened. The first teacher was Mr. Horton, a single man, who boarded at the Ross homestead and post office. He was a "Grammar Fiend", according to Mrs. Torrens, then Miss E. Williams, a lass of nine present at the opening of the school. She recalls that some of the original children came from the Sharpe, King, Williams, Ainsworth, Johnson, Ross, Henderson and Skennar families.

The next teacher's name is not remembered. It is recalled that after canings he repented by giving his pupils presents. Mrs. Torrens was given a pair of guinea fowls.

About this time a residence was built onto the school, and the teacher was Mr. Thompson. He was succeeded by Mr. Bennet.

During this time, George Williams, at present residing in Ballina, born 1883 on the farm at North Creek, commenced his schooling at the age of six. He recalls that there were several small private sugar mills catering for the industry, but, with the coming of the Colonial Sugar Refining Company and their policy of financing the farmers, these mills went out of existence. On the hills towards Lennox Headland, some dairy farms were in operation. Some of his chums were Jim Hatfield, Charlie Williams and Minnie Byrant.


With the refusal of the C.S.R. boats to come past the present North Creek bridge, sugar growing gave way to dairying which spread onto the hillsides. With the consequent increase in population on the hills, a greater need was felt for the school. As a result, in 1896 or 1897, the school and residence combined was removed to its present site which was resumed on October 16, 1896, being portion 218, Parish of Ballina, Shire of Tintenbar, County of Rous, with an area of 4 acres 2 roods 26 perches.

Mr. Bennet, the teacher, transferred with the school, and continued in the old room adjoining the house.

Mr. A. Siebert was the next teacher, remaining until 1910. Mr. Justilius, who remained until 1926 or 1927, succeeded him.

In 1905 a move was made to have a new school erected, separate from the residence. Number one in the 1905 register was Hector King. It can be assumed that this present school was opened possibly in June of 1905, the builder being James Ainsworth.

The building was a classroom twenty-one feet long and seventeen and a half feet wide, porch and verandah facing the sea, with long desks arranged in tiers. The old classroom was divided for a lounge and bathroom of the present residence.

During Mr. Justilius' time, the present school building was resited to face north. More windows were added to the southern side, while those on the east were boarded in and desks brought to floor level. Exterior colours were stone with chocolate trimmings. The interior was grey and cream with black line, which colours still partly exist today.

While Mr. Mulqueeny was teacher, leaving here in 1939, the school was painted and the grey on the interior was changed to stone.

Mr. Hotschilt followed, remaining until Mr. Henry arrived in 1945. In Mr. Henry's time, enrolments exceeded forty, electricity came to the district, school and house being connected. A projector and battery radio were added to equipment. In 1956, Mr. C. Hodder assumed charge.

The P. and C. Association has been active for many years. In later years financial help has been given by a Ladies' Auxiliary functioning in Lennox Head. These bodies have provided an electric radio, duplicator and a very good library.

As the needs of Lennox Head appear rather greater than North Creek, once again moves are afoot to establish a new school there. North Creek School will close. The residence, freshly painted, will remain for the Lennox Head Public School.

Thus will be brought to a close a period of over seventy-seven years, when education has been brought to this locality by ten permanent teachers, all of whom are remembered but one.

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.