Monday 14 August 2017

Minto Public School - then and now

This year marks a very special year in the history of Minto Public School. Turning 150 years old, the school is the oldest public school in the district of Campbelltown.
The school had had three locations. The first was on a small portion of land donated to the Catholic Church by Mr J. Pendergast, (who owned a rendering works on his 50 acres at Saggart Field, Minto) for the purpose of building a school. In June 1866 the small Roman Catholic School opened, called "Saggart Field School". The one acre block was on the western side of the railway line, on the south-east corner of Campbelltown Road and Redfern Road (now Ben Lomond Road). The first teacher, Mrs Clarke was unpaid, received free lodging at the school, and was supported in whatever way the families of the pupils could manage. Mrs Clarke wrote to the Council of Education to enquire about receiving a salary, but because the Council of Education could not give government funds to denominational schools, arrangements were made in 1867 to transfer the school from the Catholic Church to the government. The school was known as Saggart Field Provisional School for it's first eighteen years.
Due to severe overcrowding, and the inadequacies of the building, a new, single classroom school building with an adjoining teacher's residence was completed in 1882 on the corner directly opposite the old school building. In 1884 the school was renamed Minto Public School. At his second location the school grew over the years, with the numbers of students increasing and the addition of a garden, cricket pitch and tennis court.
In 1898, due to the number of children living in East Minto, many of whom did not attend at all, East Minto Public School was opened in Hansen's Road, East Minto, on the corner of Hereford Place. Unfortunately in 1947 the East Minto Public School burnt down. The Department of Education decided to resume a two and a half acre block on the edge of Minto village to build a new, larger Minto Public School to take pupils from both Minto and East Minto. This new Minto Public School on the corner of Pembroke Road and Redfern Road opened in 1954, where it still stands today.
The centenary of the school was celebrated in 1967 during the headmastership of Mr Arthur Jones. Mr Jones, a keen historian and photographer took the photo below during the centenary year.

(Jones Collection. (Campbelltown City Library, Local Studies Collection)
Minto PS students, staff, and Campbelltown Library staff recreated the photo in 2017

Written by Claire Lynch

"Truth and Courage : commemorating the first 125 years of Minto Public School 1867-1992" by Laurie Porter
Campbelltown City Library "Our past in pictures" photo database

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