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< Early Canberra Government Schools

Hall School [1911 - 2006]

Hall village was proclaimed in 1882, and the village plan including substantial space for ‘public buildings’. At the turn of the century there were schools quite close by at both Ginninderra and at Bedellick; Ginninderra was the closer option for children from Hall. In 1903 the Bedellick school (Spring Range Road) was destroyed by fire, requiring those pupils to make the six mile journey to Ginninderra, some walking.

Petitioning for a new school in Hall began immediately, and persisted for the next seven years. In 1906 Charles Thompson, then teacher at Ginninderra “spoke in glowing terms of the fine stone building at Ginninderra, built at a cost of ₤1,400, and of the well-established trees and shrubs” [Copping:1986:2]. He also pointed out that if Ginninderra were to be replaced, then some pupils would have to walk five miles or more to get to Hall.

In 1909, leading advocate for a Hall school James Kilby pointed out that twenty of the forty-five children at Ginninderra came from the Hall area. A parental petition argued that frequent flooding of Halls Creek endangered their children. More importantly Ginninderra school, which had operated since 1880, was surrounded by a few very large land holdings, while Hall was a public township with a growing population and ‘two stores, one hotel, one accommodation house, a Post Office, one saddlers shop, one blacksmith and wheelwright…….’.

In January 1910 approval was given to the District Schools Inspector to call tenders, and approval of the new school was formally announced in the Public Instruction Gazette of 31 January 1910. It is interesting to note that in the course of identifying the site for a Hall School, Charles Scrivener (the Territory's Chief Surveyor) wrote to the Secretary, Department of Home Affairs, pointing out that a railway line from Queanbeyan to Yass was being surveyed at that time, and suggesting that development proposals of this sought should be referred to him.

Hall Primary School was closed by the ACT Government at the end of the 2006 school year, five years short of it’s Centenary. The same Hall Progress Association that lobbied the NSW government to get the school established in 1911 worked hard with the P & C Association to defend the school from closure, but to no avail. An earlier campaign to save the school from closure in 1959 was much more successful, resulting in new school buildings and a new Principal’s residence.

Time line - Hall School

1903: Bedellick school destroyed by fire
1910: Application for a school at Hall approved; tenders called
1911: Hall School opened. Teacher in charge – Charles W. Thompson
1912: First ‘Empire Day picnic’
1915: Arbor Day; pines planted along Victoria Street side of the school
1919: ‘Peace Tree’ and thirty pines planted at the school by Red Cross Society
1933: Charles Thompson retired; farewell ceremony at Kinlyside Hall.
1933: Ray Harris appointed teacher in charge
1937: Ray Harris succeeded by Richard O’Sullivan
1957: Richard O’Sullivan succeeded by Keith Brew.
1957: Proposal to close Hall School. Resisted
1959: Weather shed enclosed as temporary classroom
1960: Hall upgraded to a Class 3 school, new residence and classrooms added
1960: Laurie Copping appointed Principal
1962: Water bore sunk; new toilet block built
1968: Further additional classrooms added
1971: Hall School Diamond Jubilee celebrations
1974: Federal Government takes over ACT education from NSW
1981: Laurie Copping retired
1981: Enrolments peak at 189
1986: 75th Anniversary. Governor-General Sir Ninian Stephen opens School Museum
1997: Time capsule sealed.
2004: Governor-General Michael Jeffery dedicates the Museum to Laurie Copping
2006: Government announces closure of Hall Primary School
2011: Hall School Centenary

Hall School now operates as Hall School Museum and Heritage Centre. There is further information on the Hall Public Shool on the museum's website. The Museum has researched and holds material on eighteen one-teacher bush schools of the Hall district and is adding material on all the early bush schools of the Capital Territory.

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NSW Government schools from 1848

< Early Canberra Government Schools

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