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< Early Canberra Government Schools

Nerrabunda ('Long Gully') School [1886 - 1900]

Also known locally as 'Long Gully' school, this school site is now beneath Yamba Drive, just south of the junction with Mawson Drive.

There were two schools in the Canberra district which, at different time, were both called Nerrabundah. The first of these was built in the locality known as Long Gully, which was midway between Yarralumla and Tuggranong. In January 1885 Mr. W.G. O'Neill, a stock and station agent at Queanbeyan, wrote to the Under Secretary of Education to say that the residents of Taylor's Hill, Long Gully wished a school to be established there. They were able to guarantee an attendance of 15. An official application was sent on 31st March, signed by John Pike, Joseph Mayo, William Ryan, and Patrick Sheedy. The last two were apparently unable to sign their names for each marked the paper with a cross.

Approval for the school to be established was given on 4th August 1885. The Chief Inspector though that a name more distinctive than Taylor's Hill, Long Gully, should be provided and the District Inspector, Mr. Kevin, suggested 'Nerrabunda', which was adopted. Mr. F. Campbell of 'Yarralumla' had offered to rent a stone cottage for a school house but Mr. Kevin reported that it would be better to build a new school on part of a Government reserve which was more central to the community. The school site is shown on parish and county maps as portion 170, Parish of Narrabundah. The Inspector had hoped that two acres would have been available from the four acre reserve, but as public access to a spring would have been barred, the school was only granted three roods for its site.

Built of slabs, the school house was erected by John Pike and William Ryan, who were paid £45 for their work. The building was completed by the end of the year, but Mr. Kevin wrote to say that the wood was fairly green and would almost certainly shrink. On 12th May 1886, however, he was able to report that the slabs has been "tightened up and the joints securely covered with strips of zinc". He continued: "The whole has again been whitewashed and made neat, clean and comfortable". The Report of the Minister of Public Instruction for 1886 states that the new provisional school which had opened at Nerrabunda during the year had had an average attendance of 9.8 and a total enrolment of 16.

The first teacher, Miss Jessie MacTavish, was appointed on 20th January 1886. On 28th May of the following year Miss MacTavish married Mr. John Sheedy - probably a resident of the district. Despite her marriage Mrs. Sheedy remained at the school until December 1889. It was apparently closed from then until December 1890, when Miss Mary McManus was appointed teacher-in-charge. From 1st April 1891 until February 1893 Nerrabunda was conducted on a half-time basis with the school at Canberra. It reverted to provisional status again with the appointment of' Mr. Samuel Hanscombe on 23rd February 1893. The attendance must have continued to fluctuate, however, for the school closed in October of the same year, only to reopen four years later as a provisional school under Herbert Dallas, who remained there from January to October.

In January 1898 Mr. Patrick Sheedy wrote to the Department asking for the school to be reopened. With the appointment of' Mr. Francis McGee on 1st February, Nerrabunda was conducted as a half-time school again, this time in connection with the school at Yarralumla ('Bulga Creek'). Twelve months later Mr. John Clowes became teacher at the two schools. Approval was given in Octooer 1900 for the closing of Nerrabunda half-time school and the conversion of Yarralumla to a public school. This took effect from 1st November.

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NSW Government schools from 1848

< Early Canberra Government Schools

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