A Semi -Regular Photo Blog about Life in Northern New South Wales, Australia.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Vale Woodford Dale Public

Today is the last day that Woodford Dale Public School will be open. The students finished last Friday but the school has still been open for administrative purposes for two extra days. It has been operating for 144 years and is also the last school on Woodford Island, with South Arm and Woodford Leigh closing over 50 years ago.
Yes it is probably very uneconomical with 12 kids(it's interesting the the Department has banned any kids from enrolling outside the official catchment of the school),but this is the last bit of a farming community's infrastructure left. The parents have worked hard at increasing enrolments, it was only 6 kids a few years ago, and they felt they were guaranteed by the local Department of Education office 6 weeks ago that it would be open in 2012, so they feel shocked and dismayed by the sudden announcement last week.
It is only 30 minutes to some much larger schools, Maclean and Lawrence, but for some families this one teacher school has taught many generations.
Some will say they will get a better education at the larger schools with more opportunities, maybe, but it still comes down to the fact that it is a local school that understands what is important to students and their families. The Department says they will review the situation in a year and a groundsman will keep maintaining the  playgrounds for no-one, but we all know it is 'Yes Minister' speak for closure for ever.

When I strolled around the grounds it felt like a great place with it's shady trees and vegie gardens. I hope the parents keep fighting!
This is a My World Tuesday Post. Click here for more views on our Planet.


  1. MMM ... I am in two minds about this sort of thing, Mark. Yes, I think the education received will be more robust in a larger school. Even if students travel for 30 minutes, the education will still be informed by their 'local area'. Otherwise, the only viable schooling would have to be 'home schooled' to make it local enough!

    The building and grounds look immmaculate. I was thinking that about Wauchope as I meandered around there the other day, too. A well-kempt little joint.

  2. What a sad day for the community Mark - and I'm sure it is much more than a school - I hope the parents continue the fight to retain this treasure!

  3. There's something special about one teacher schools. I had my primary school education in two (one closed due to lack of numbers).

  4. I am surprised that it has lasted this long! With modern transport distance is not what it used to be, though a half hour daily commute can't be fun for little ones.

  5. That is a sad day for the community! As a parent and a former teacher, I do hate to see schools like these close and I do feel the children are the losers! I hope the parents win the battle, too! It is a treasure! Hope you have a great week!


  6. What a pity... It looks so beautiful. Even the sign is great.
    “He who opens a school door, closes a prison.” Victor Hugo said. I wonder what the opposite is? "Close a school door and open 12 prisons"?
    I'm not convinced that kids will get a better education at larger schools.

  7. That's the school my father went to, and his father before him. Bit sad about this one, but thank you for the beautiful photos.

  8. A gem, a sanctuary in the world of haste! There is time to scramble up to par once high school years near, but why not allow those lucky children to enjoy an alternative style of education! I am sure that they can only gain in the long run!

  9. The fact that no one outside the catchment area was allowed to enroll was a sure sign the beings in power aren't so concerned with the community's wishes and needs. I hope it can be transformed into some other community based use.

  10. Hi Mark, do you know who the school principal/teacher was back in the 80's-90's here? I think my biological father may have gone there back then but I only have a photo of the school and teacher/principal to go off. It would be a great help. Thanks, Trish

    1. Trish I hope i can help you out. I have a friend in teaching who will see what she can find. Please email me on wharfstwanderer@gmail.com so I can give you the information as I don't want to put it on the blog.
      Best of Luck.

  11. So heartbreaking to see "woody" closed. My sisters and I all attending this school, my oldest sister first after our experience at Lawrence primary school was a daily battle with bullies and teachers who were more inclined to turn a blind eye. The things that this school taught us were not written on a blackboard. We all cared for each other and tolerance, sympathy and understanding were the lessons were were and still are instilled with.
    Lunchtime was filled with riding our bikes and running around with no shoes or uniforms.
    Every Friday was canteen day and families took turn off supplying food and it was our responsibility to set the prices and run the makeshift canteen.


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