A MILESTONE: Sandra Patch, Megan Marriott and Beth Dowling are helping to organise an event for Ballina Public School’s 150th anniversary, which will be held in August. They are looking for old photos and other memorabilia for a display.
A MILESTONE: Sandra Patch, Megan Marriott and Beth Dowling are helping to organise an event for Ballina Public School’s 150th anniversary, which will be held in August. They are looking for old photos and other memorabilia for a display.

Ballina Public to celebrate

WHEN Sandra Patch was the captain of Ballina Public School in 1961, the school was celebrating its centenary.

Now she is excited about helping to organise an event for the 150th anniversary.

“I went to this school, my mother and my grandmother went here, too,” Ms Patch said.

“My kids went here and I was a teacher here for many years, so the school has always been a big part of my life.”

Ms Patch still teaches casually at Ballina Public School and, on August 24, will help celebrate its sesquicentennial.

It was one of the first public schools built on the North Coast and opened in August, 1861.

To celebrate this important milestone, there will be an open day.

There will be plenty of activities, including a parade, book fair, old-style games and music.

Teacher/librarian Megan Marriott said past students, staff and community members should contact the school “to tell us your story”.

“Any photos or memorabilia are also welcome,” she said.

The school came about as the population of Ballina grew with the increase of the timber-cutting and shipping industries.

A group of locals, headed by shipbuilder Joseph Eyles, recognised the need for a school.

It was finished in July 1863 at a total cost of £450.

By 1875, attendance at the school had improved, but there was great dissatisfaction about the school amenities and its general condition.

Children carried their own water to school and parents threatened to keep them at home if something wasn’t done about the water supply.

A new building was required and it was finished during 1881/82 at a cost of about £2000.

Fast-forward to 1974 when the 1882 building was due to be demolished, but was saved because of its historical significance.

It was converted into a school library that is still used to the present day.

If you have any memorabilia that could be put on display at Ballina Public School’s 150th anniversary event, please email ballina-p.school@det.nsw.edu.au or call 6686 2205.


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