Stratford Public prepares for centenary celebration

ON March 19, 1906, three open-minded and forward thinking residents and parents of Stratford - Mr G W Yates, T Germon and W G Farley - made an official request to the under secretary of the Department of Public Instruction that a school be established in the village.

At that time there were eight boys and six girls of school age (four to 14) who were living in close distance to the 

proposed area. They also advised the children would ‘attend the school regularly and punctually’.

The first families included in the application were all named individually and included the Yates, Cox, Farley, Burley, Germon and Landers families. 

Before their application was finalised, five more students had settled in the area and their parents also committed their children’s attendance to the school in Stratford. These included the Lowrey, Wilson and Yates families.

The new settlers purchased land from the Gloucester Estate in order to settle. 

The majority settled into jobs such as dairy farming, butchery and storekeeping.

The need for a school had been recognised. The land was purchased for the princely sum of £1. 

Building did not begin for another seven years as the department indicated the North Coast Railway would ‘probably alter the distribution of the population’ and felt it inadvisable to spend the money on a new school. A provisional school was opened on October 28, 1907 (the school still has the punishment book to prove it). 

Students were taught at the school for the next several years before in April 1913 land was purchased for playground purposes. Several months later a tender was accepted from Germon and Wright to build the new school at a cost of just over £289. 

The school would accommodate 52 pupils and was opened on April 8, 1914. 

The school was officially opened by NSW Governor Lieutenant General Gerald Strickland. 

However, the date of the official opening in 1914 is a mystery.

During its opening year an exchange of flags took place between Stratford Public School and the town of Stratford-upon-Avon in the UK. Locals who attended Stratford Public or know about its history can contact Jodie Waters at the school on 6558 8234.

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