Palmers Channel


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


In the year 1868 the first school, known as Taloumbi, was established on the northern bank of Palmer's Channel. This school was privately controlled by a local school committee. Fees were paid by the parents to the school committee for the upkeep and running of same. The teachers appeared to be untrained and records state that in one year only nine weeks instruction was given.

Stories were told of how children were rowed across the Channel to attend the school and the fears that parents had for their safety. Other stories are told of how children crossing "the Black Swamp" became lost and search parties were organised to look for them.

In the year 1872 the Taloumbi School was made a public school by the then Council of Education in Sydney. The first trained teacher, Mr Sam Weston, took over charge of the school on 15th January the same year. The school building was considered to be unsuitable in accordance with regulations at the time. Residents of the district agreed to raise one third of the cost of a new building if Council would agree to build it. A new site was chosen, the present one, and on 16th December 1873, the local school board, comprising Messrs Alexander McLowan, Ewen Kennedy, Kenneth Kennedy, William Elder (secretary), Daniel Dougherty and John Carter, entered into contract with William Jones for the erection of the building. This building was completed in July, 1874, at the cost of 240pounds, including fencing and furniture. The residents contributed 50pounds cash, plus the old building valued at another 50pounds.

No record of the teachers between the years 1874 and 1883 is available. William Hayes became the teacher in 1883 with an enrolment of 67.

In July, 1885, a further area of 1  acres was obtained from John Carter and forms the northern part of the present site. It seems likely that a new school residence was built upon this new area quite soon because the old site was sold to Mr J McLeod at the end of 1886.

Then followed Inlay McLaren, 1890; Henry Fox, 1891; John Simes, 1891; William Archibald, 1892; Albert Hammond, 1901; as teachers in the Taloumbi School.

Though accurate information is not available, it appears that the school was raised in status in July, 1902, and John Pugh was appointed in charge, with an assistant, Miss Lacey. Later Miss Almond replaces Miss Lacey. It seems that both Mr Pugh and his assistants taught in the same room.

It was in the year 1907 that the name of the school was changed to Palmer's Channel.

Jacob Jones followed Pugh in the year 1908, with Miss Irvine as an assistant. A new building was built in the year 1913 and now the headmaster taught in this building and the assistant in the old school. Later the old school was demolished and an extra room added to the new building. From the material of the old school an additional weathershed was constructed. Frederick Greentree was appointed in 1914. He had two assistants, Miss Quinn and Miss Kissane in that order.

Thomas Ousby was in charge from September, 1916, until August, 1924 when the enrolment dropped to 35. During this time the assistants in order were Misses Neville, Alberts, Maxted and Oxman. In 1920 an extra acre was added to the playground and the Parents and Citizens Association purchased a piano and a sewing machine for use in the school.


In August 1924 the school dropped in status to a one-teacher school and Herbert Frape was appointed as a relieving teacher until January 1925. Hercules Bailey was then appointed as the teacher-in-charge - he set a record by staying 20 years. A typewriter was added to the school equipment by the P & C Association in his time.

William Barker followed Bailey in 1945. A stage was built complete with sliding curtains, in the spare second room for holding school concerts and dramatic work. As well as this, a radio, pick-up, and movie projector were provided by the P & C Association. Then followed Dominic Hotschilt in 1950, John Folkard in 1953 and the writer, Ashley Lee, in 1959. In 1955 a record player was purchased by the P & C Association and installed in the school. A motor mower was provided by the P & C Association in 1958 to keep the school lawns in order.


The present enrolment of the school is 30 and is providing the educational needs of a district of forty-five families from kindergarten to sixth grade. With the aid of the radio and piano, folk dancing is taught to classes from third to sixth grade. A good reference library has been provided by the P & C Association and boxes of fictional books are obtained from a central library at the High School in Maclean. Enrichment in social studies and music appreciation is provided by the use of the movie projector. Films are obtained from a central library attached to the Education Department in Sydney.

A school of this type acts as a social unit in the district. The P & C Association is often the only organized group. Social evenings are held in the school as a means of raising funds and these are always well attended. Other ways of raising money are school tuck shops and stalls, etc. With the money raised, the P & C Association provides much valuable equipment in the school. This is maintained and kept in order by the Department of Education.

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.