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


The story of Rous School is the history of the district. In the years between 1860-1880 it was through the early cedar-getters exploiting the cedar of the "Big Scrub" that the district was settled. Among them was the late James Irvine, who searched the Rous district for giant cedar trees.

In the late 60's he brought his nephews, William and Jeremiah Davis, with him from Jamberoo on the South Coast, to select land up here. They came from Sydney by sailing ship to Gundurimba and then walked across Tucki Swamp to the Rous area, where they selected and then began to clear the land of its heavy growth of timber.

From the 1870's others began to arrive and select farms. Among them was the late Andrew Connelly, his wife and two children, the Browns, the Kenyons, the Strongs, the Perkins and the Loadsmans. With these arrivals, the need for a school was very apparent. The people of Rous cleared a small area of Connelly's farm, split slabs and erected a two-roomed “humpy" for a school.

Meanwhile, Alfred Fowler, a relative of Sir Henry Parkes, organised and sent a petition to the Government asking for a teacher, and also that a school be built. In 1882 the first teacher, Mr. A. B. Carpenter, was appointed and the school was opened. Mr. Carpenter lived in one room and taught school in the other. At the same time adjoining the slab structure, a site of two acres was made available. It was still covered with thick and virgin scrub. The first two pupils enrolled were Anthony Brown and Edgar Bryant.

All residents set to work to fell, burn, stump and level the grounds ready for the erection of the new school, the first Rous Public School.

By 1884 a residence with a classroom adjoining was completed. Children had only bush tracks to follow to reach the school. Dense scrub grew right to the school boundary. There were no roads at all. Some children attended Rous from as far away as Lindendale - the Mortimer family.


Following Mr. Carpenter as teacher came John Austen, Mr. Middleton, A. Cousens, Henry Schaffer, A. McMullen, David Bowling, G. F. McCurdy, J. C. Sheridan, L. Frank, S. G. Roberts, R. Solomon, E. Evans, M. 0. Blacklock, G. W. Want, and S. G. Heath. The staff today is Mr. P. Staude as H.M. and Miss B. Davis as assistant.

Owing to the growth of population, about 1838, agitation began for a larger school, but it was not until 1902 that the present building was completed. All desks, seats. tables and presses were made locally from local cedar milled here.

In the early days, both men and women pupil teachers were sent to Rous School to receive tuition and to gain experience in teaching under supervision of the HM. One of these was the late Ted Taylor. This custom continued at Rous as late as 1912 while the late 0. F. McCurdy was H.M. During Mr. McCurdy's regime a "Summer School of Method" was held at Rous. Teachers attended from all small schools in the Richmond Inspectorate and as far away as the Tweed area. Demonstrations were given in every subject and teaching methods were exchanged and criticised.

Rous has mostly been a two-teacher school, but at times it has reverted to a one-teacher status, owing to attendance fluctuations.

The history of the Rous F. and C. Association dates back to 1911, when the association was formed with the late F. W. Warley as President, Mr. J. Kenyon as Secretary and the late G. F. McCurdy as Treasurer. The late Mr. H. W. Pratt followed Mr. Kenyon as Secretary in 1912 and remained as such until 1953. Surely his term of office for 41 years must be a record. The late Mr. Pratt was followed by Mr. I. A. Foster, of Rous Mill, as Secretary (4 years) and Mr. W. J. Foster (present secretary). All four secretaries have been ex-pupils of the school. The present President, Mr. G. Mison, has occupied this position since 1944, while the present Treasurer, Mr. A. McDonald, has been in office since 1954, having taken over from Mrs. Pratt, treasurer for a number of years.

The Ladies’ Auxiliary of the Rous P. and C. was formed in 1956, with Mesdames A. Pratt, G. G. Gallagher and J. Hewett as office bearers. Mesdames E. Elliott, C. Leadbeatter and C. G. Gallagher constitute the present executive.

The present objective of both P. and C. and Ladies' Auxiliary is the purchase of a motor mower for the school. Plans are well in hand for the holding of a fete on the Friday of Education week to help towards this objective.

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.