Tweed River High turns 50

IMAGINE starting the school year in a newly-built school with gleaming floors, clean surfaces and smelling of fresh paint.

Next Monday, January 31 will be the 50th anniversary for the 427 students enrolled in 1961 at Tweed River High School who were able to do just that.

In fact the high school had not been completed in time for the first day of the school term and construction work was still under way on the school's assembly hall.

On the first school morning the students lined up on the school quadrangle, boys to the left and girls to the right, facing the main entrance to the school.

They were addressed by the principal, A T Williams, previously headmaster of the Tweed Heads Central School in Stuart Street, Tweed Heads.

The central school became Tweed Heads Primary School with Ray Broadhurst in charge.

The quadrangle was surfaced with bitumen and during summer the heat radiating through the soles of the students' black leather shoes made it quite unbearable to stand in one spot for too long.

The bitumen was not only hot but also rough and dug into knees when female student supervisor Mrs Kirk asked the girls to kneel in order to measure the correct length of their sports uniforms.

On the second day of school the two school captains, Bill Cramp and Christine Croker, raised the Australian flag in the school grounds for the first time.

Twelve prefects, six boys and six girls, were chosen as student leaders. They were not formerly inducted as prefects until Wednesday, August 9 after construction work on the hall, the last school building to be completed, had finally ended.

At the first official function in the newly-completed assembly hall the school's Parents and Citizen's Association president, Bob Spurway, was master of ceremonies for the induction of the prefects.

He introduced the official guests, Member for Byron S T Stephens, MLA and the district inspector of schools E E Gray, of Murwillumbah, to the students, teachers and guests.

The prefects were introduced by the master of prefects, G Campbell and principal Williams conducted the prefect's pledge. The prefects' investiture then took place in front of their proud parents.

In his address after the induction was completed Mr Gray emphasised the need for the building of a school tradition and prophesised that Tweed River High School would become one of the great schools in New South Wales.

Tweed River High School was officially opened by the New South Wales Minister for Education, the Hon E Wetherill, MLA, on Thursday, October 19.

An invitation was sent out by principal Williams to all parents and friends to be present at the ceremony and after it was completed the students and staff assembled for the official photographs.

The school had 22 members of staff for the 1961 school year and they were G R Jones, R Stanton, I McCowan, B McLennan, I Wakeham, P Turner, R A Jensen, D Ogilvie BA, G M Hoy, A C Addis BA, J F White BA, Dip Ed, Mrs D Loder ASTC, Mrs E Wharton-Kirke, Mrs M E Rose, T G Brinsmead M Comm, Dip Acc, Deputy Principal H F Berriman BSc, Principal A T Williams BA, G A Campbell BA, Dip Ed, Mrs L Berriman BA, Miss B Amos, Mrs F Rogers and Mr I Todd.

Among the school's many facilities were a home economics room housing modern electric and gas cooking ranges, a needlework and sewing room equipped with electric and treadle sewing machines, a darkroom adjoining the science rooms, an art room, a metalwork room equipped with lathes and furnaces, a woodworking room, a laundry room with modern washing machines and irons, a sick bay equipped with first-aid requirements, a library and a school canteen run by volunteer workers among the students' mothers.

The first school sports carnival was held on the Tweed Heads Recreation Ground and the students also travelled there for their Wednesday sports day activities. By the end of the year work started on the long-awaited playing fields on the eight acres of ground beside and behind the school.

New brick buildings and demountable rooms were added as the student population grew and sporting facilities and sporting fields were constructed.

The large sports oval facing onto the Pacific Highway (now Midjungbul Drive) was replaced over time by an indoor pool complex, community centre and TAFE college.

Tall trees grew up in the grounds tended in the early years by the school's first groundsman, Tom Flanagan.

Happy 50th anniversary Tweed River High School.

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