Rous Mill


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


Rous Mill is a small community situated 10 miles south-east of Lismore. In the latter part of the last century it was a thriving town centred around Mr. Alfred Bennett's sugar mill from which it derived the name. Of the butcher's shops, saddlery, police station, hotels, grocers, School of Arts, timber mill, butter factory and Temperance Hall, only a few remain in use.

Most have disappeared leaving only the foundations such as those of the butcher's shop, police station and the mill itself.

Practically all of the country as it was cleared was planted with sugar cane. These fields extended as far as Alstonville and the tracks where the old railway line ran, can still be seen.

Supplies were carted by bullock drays from either Ballina or Wardell. Raw sugar provided the back loading.

With the change from sugar growing on the hills to the river flats the mill was forced to close. Such good quality cane was grown here that the Rous mill was the last of the "Hill" mills to close.

With the closing of the mill farmers turned more to dairying, which is still the main industry in this district today.

One small hydro-electric power plant on Youngman's Creek provided power for the cheese factory owned by the Fredericksen family. This operated until the early forties.

Today, besides dairying and pig raising, peanuts, pineapples, bananas and small crops are grown. These are channelled to the various markets by organisations in Lismore.

The first meeting to agitate for the formation of a school in this district was held on July 25, 1882.

On September 13,1892 a school was opened in the Temperance Hall and 58 pupils attended the first day. These numbers increased to 94 by the end of the year.

For two years school continued in the hall until in 1894 a well-lit large two-roomed building with enclosed porch, was erected on the crest of a hill overlooking Marom Creek before it empties itself into Tuckean Swamp.

Mr. J. W. Austin was the first teacher appointed to the newly opened school. Teachers who have passed through this school since its inception include J. W. Austin (1892-3), T. Burling (1893-1902), Jas. Brown (1902-6), W. S. Morgan (1907-8), R. Brewer (1909-14), C. A. Moffitt (1914-15), T. H. Morris (1918-22), J. Collings (1923-24), S. Basham (1925-36), G. Want (1937-42), W. L. Hawkins (1943-48), C. Hodder (1949-54), H. J. Spillane (1955--).

With the advent of a bus service to Lismore, children have been able to continue their secondary education at the High School. With the decline in population and bus facilities the number of pupils has dwindled until only 12 remain.

Gone are the long desks of the "good old days"; dual desks having taken their place.

The spare room now provides facilities for kindergarten and junior activities as well as room for folk dancing.


The inaugural meeting of the Parents and Citizens' Association was held on October 21, 1912, when Mr. G. W. Hammond outlined the aim of forming an association. Mr. J. Crawford was elected first president.

The association has continued to function and flourish through the ensuing years till today it still has a membership of 18. During those years the association has been active in providing books and equipment for the school which has greatly aided both the children and teachers.

The P. and C. has acted as a link between the public and education by arousing an interest in education, and actively helping in its development by lecture and instructions from outside bodies, such as shires, ambulance, first aid organisations, etc.

Parents have been encouraged to greater interest by the introduction of "Open Days" and "Education Week", where they can actually see the fruits of their labour in the work being done and the use of the materials provided by the Parents and Citizens.

This interest results in greater co-operation between the teacher, child and parent, and is reflected in the willingness of the association to provide text books, library books, kindergarten equipment, wireless and projector for the school.

The P. and C. Association has always encouraged and assisted in the holding of functions such as those on Empire Day, sports day, Christmas trees and concerts. By doing this they have tried to bring the community into one united band for the benefit of all.

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.