Harmerville School (1892-1941)
The Harmerville school was one of half a dozen small schools in the Blyth district. A provisional school called Blyth Scrub opened in 1892 but was locally known as Harmerville.
The school was built on a triangular portion of Section 299, Hundred of Blyth, given by farmer Mr James Harmer. His children and grandchildren attended Harmerville School, as did the children of his neighbours.
In 1908 the name was officially changed to Harmerville.
When Miss Rosalie Collins was the teacher, her salary was £80 to £100 per annum and the average attendance was 15 students.
The school closed for six weeks during her appointment due to her being ill. A school picnic was held annually on a Saturday in September, with races and refreshments (several cases of oranges). Arbor Day was also celebrated.
In 1909 Mr EC Deland, Chairman of the School Board of Advice, came to the school on a tour of inspection. After addressing the children, and distributing sweets and fruit, Mr Deland gave them a half day holiday.
Students joined in various community events, such as
the Blyth Hospital Gymkhana,
celebrations for Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee (1897),
a visit by the Premier of South Australia (1939),
the annual sports day of the Blyth Sports Club and Empire Day celebrations.
At many of these events, local students marched in a street procession in school groups.
The Harmerville teacher represented the school at quarterly meetings of the Stanley Teachers Association.
The school closed briefly in 1916. When it reopened in July 1916, a Harmerville School Committee comprised of parents was formed to assist with the upkeep of the school grounds and resources.
For larger jobs such as the re-plastering and painting of the school required in 1924, they liaised with the Education Department.
The school picnic continued to be held, usually at Mr Eime’s tennis courts, with sweets as prizes for the younger children and books for those more senior.
Dances and euchre evenings were held to raise funds for the school. In 1927 there were 23 students enrolled. Funds raised were put towards a swing and see-saw for the playground.
The annual combined schools picnic at Wallaroo was a much anticipated event and students from Harmerville sometimes attended.
A newspaper report chronicles the annual picnic held in March 1929 when 950 people travelled by train to Wallaroo.
Excited children from Kybunga, Harmerville, Blyth and Hart, with their parents in tow, caught the train en route to Brinkworth, where the families from that school joined them for the journey.
Charabancs, trucks and cars were provided by families at Wallaroo to meet the train and ferry the crowds to the beach site.
In 1933 and 1934 the school was used for Presbyterian church services and Sunday school.
In 1940 the School Committee provided afternoon tea at a clearing sale held on Mr JL Pratt’s farm with the proceeds given to the School Patriotic Fund.
Mr Pratt was selling his 15 draught horses as he had purchased a tractor.
In the early years of the Second World War, students were engaged in knitting socks for servicemen overseas.
One student, Gerald Pratt, had his gift acknowledged in a letter received in 1957 from the Czeckoslovakia Red Cross.
Apparently parcels not allocated during the war had found their way to the supplies of post-war relief organisations.
Harmerville School closed in May 1941. The six remaining primary students continued their education at the Blyth School.
SOME OF THE FAMILIES WHO ATTENDED HARMERVILLE SCHOOL
LIST OF TEACHERS APPOINTED TO HARMERVILLE SCHOOL
ROSALIE K COLLINS 1909 - 1911
MR H DARWIN ? - 1914
MISS NYKIEL July 1914
MISS ALLANSON 1921
MISS KEALY 1922
(LATER MRS LINDSAY PRATT) 1924 - 1926
MISS STEPHENS 1926 - 1927
MISS FOGARTY 1928
MISS LUND 1930
MISS McDOWELL 1932
MR WALLBRIDGE 1932
MISS PRIXTEN 1932
MISS R HORWOOD 1933 - 1936
MR WEBB (LAST TEACHER) 1938 - 1941
SCHOOL CLOSED 23/05/1941