Hannam Vale Public School celebrated its quasquicentenary – 125 years of delivering public education in the Hannam Vale community - on the weekend of September 16 and 17. Hundreds of people attended the exciting weekend!
Hannam Vale Public School began as Upper Stewarts River Half School in 1892. It’s name was changed to Hannam Vale in 1904. Stewarts River and Waitui Schools were also then in the district, but later closed as the timber milling industry began to decline.
The history of Hannam Vale Public School illustrates the pioneering spirit and innovative capacity of Australians.
In 1890 the Education Department purchased a block of two acres to become the site of the school and playground, and a further six acres which would become the school paddock.
A creek runs along the back of the school site – with the school paddock , now Recreation Reserve - beyond it. The Quasqui Celebrations took place on the Recreation Reserve, at the school and also at the Community Hall.
Today HVPS has two classrooms, a hall (once St Paul’s Anglican Church relocated from Waitui) and administration block. There are 20 students in attendance, with two full-time teachers. The hall was jam packed with historical memorabilia from by-gone days, and proved to be a popular meeting spot for everyone!
The previous teacher’s residence is now a library, two bay Stephanie Alexander Foundation Kitchen, meeting room, utility room, plus cleaner’s store. The gardens reflect the history of the school also, and a vegetable garden is currently being developed and maintained by teachers, parents, community and students. Students enjoy the space, tennis court, garden, kitchen, sandpit, oval and natural surroundings.
The hinterland is ever evolving. Beginning as a saw milling and then farming community, the focus shifted fully to dairying and orchards. Market demand and changing farm practices have further modified land usage, the dairies that remain are predominantly large producers. There has been a demographic shift in the area. Smaller landholdings with diversified production have grown in number. These landowners often accrue income from “off farm”. History and family connections to the school have cemented its highly regarded position in the village and the weekends festivities certainly reflected this! Students have enjoyed ongoing success through their educational and societal pursuits within the immediate and wider community.
The weekend began with a parade through the town from the Hall, which wound up in the recreation reserve for the official opening.
The parade was led out by local identity Jono Enmark followed on by the Camden Haven Community Band, with many “floats” to follow.
Connor Mcinnes , previous student now Year 8 at Camden Haven High, compared the parade.
Floats included local businesses, an old milk truck, Farmers Own “Legendairy” dairy milker, various vintage cars, the Hannam Vale horse riders ad previous and current students of the school.
Upon arrival the Recreation Reserve Shelter had been cleverly set up as the Upper Stewarts River School. The Official opening featured special guests Ms. Leslie Williams (MP for Port Macquarie) and Mr. Graham Small (School Education Director for Hastings), with both Mrs. Ada Bird 102 years old and Jean Emerton 97 years old – the oldest students present) handy to cut the Quasqui Cake with the youngest student Elizabeth Vine Hogan 5 years and current Kindergarten student.
The day continued with a move over to the school grounds, where food, jumping castle (provided by Rural Fire Service) , Pony rides, a Maypole Dancing demonstration – performed by current students-and a charity auction got underway! There was much reminiscing and many photographs snapped!
Memorabilia was on sale too! Including the previous reprinted Centenary History 1892-1992, plus a newly researched and produced 125th Anniversary Book covering the last 25 years in more detail.
That evening a Bushdance, catered for by the P&C and community members, took place. “Bushfire”
a fantastic band from Newcastle called the dances and provided great bush music to dance along to! It was a very happy occasion!
Sunday began with a very moving church Service hosted by the local Salvation Army chapter. Following on there was a picnic day and sports such as tennis, handball, soccer, skipping and hopscotch got underway!
The Quasqui Committee was formed in July 2016 and was dedicated to organising this event. A Facebook Page Back to Hannam Vale has over 300 members. The weekend was a terrific success.