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HISTORY OF LENSWOOD PRIMARY SCHOOL

In 1869 James Clarke started the first public school in our district called Jerry’s Flat School.  This was a slab house on what is now known as Cold Store Road. By December 1870 he was teaching elsewhere and John Brock Fry was granted a probationary licence in 1871.  He went on to teach at Jerry’s Flat School and later Forest School for some thirty years, retiring on 31 December 1900.

In October 1881 it was proposed to Parliament that a stone schoolhouse be built at Forest Range at a cost of 450 pounds. Land was purchased and in 1884 the new Forest School opened. The school initially comprised school rooms and a residence.  Over the years the school was expanded and more property purchased.  In 1937 the old porch and senior room were demolished and a large partitioned room was built along with a new porch and woodwork room.  These rooms are still in use today, as are four rooms of the original building.  The playground was very rough at the time and full of stones.  There was shade from pine trees and the playground equipment consisted of a swing and seesaw.

The school has always been a centre of the community and parents are critical to the success of any school.  The School Committee, the governing group of the school, was first formed in 1916.

Lenswood Primary School had been called Forest School for 78 years before it was renamed in 1961.

In 1965 Lenswood Primary School purchased land at the back of the school and after fundraising for three years an oval was built.  A large addition to the school grounds, in the form of a school hall, was erected in 2010-2011.

At Lenswood Primary School our history runs deep through the generations of families.  As with many rural communities students often attend the same school as their parents and even grandparents or great grandparents.  Some of the current students are fifth or sixth generation of their family to attend this school.  This brings a special bond between the community and the school, a bond that is very strong in this region.

THE HISTORY OF THE WELFARE CLUB AND THE P&F

The Parents and Friends group was originally known as the Lenswood Primary School Welfare Club.

On August 7th 1935, 37 mothers gathered at the school to form the “’Forest Mothers’ Welfare Club” with encouragement from the Headmaster, Mr Shaw.

“Right from the start the club was very industrious, and their first year set the pattern for the next 50 years. There were sewing bees – desk bags were made for the Infant Room, and concert costumes cut out and sewn. Pasty days were held, and a busy bee to brighten up the school fence.”

The P&F are still organising lunches for the students, these have varied from soup days to the present Monday Munchies, once a fortnight. Food served has included spaghetti Bolognese, chicken curry, tortillas, wraps, healthy burgers and pasta dishes.

“That first year, Easter Eggs were provided for the children on the suggestion of Mrs Mason, and this has now become a tradition in our school.” This tradition is still carried on by the present P&F an unbroken line of 82 years of Easter Eggs!

In 1940 despite many restrictions, the group raised money to buy First Aid equipment, sports goods and library books. In 1944, the mothers supported the introduction of a rest period for Year 1 children and each child had a sleeping mat and cushion which were hung up on hooks around the room. The committee received much praise for this innovation.

In the 60’s the Welfare Club arranged a 21st birthday party for a Miss Langmead, who we know as Kay Stafford.

“A crowd of over 200 gathered at the Church of England Mission Hall, which was delightfully decorated by members of the Welfare Club. The social part of the evening comprised dancing, games and items by Miss Ruth Green, Mr J Stafford and Mssrs. R and D Green. During the evening Miss Langmead received a further surprise when her parents arrived from Renmark. Mrs R Mason, president of the School Welfare Club, presented Miss Langmead with a beautiful tea-set on behalf of the Welfare members and friends. The highlight of the evening came when Miss Langmead was asked to cut the magnificent 2-tier birthday cake baked by Mrs. P. Giles and iced by Mrs. Noel Green.” An extract from The Courier covering the occasion

Kay repaid the Community and Welfare Club’s kindness to her as a young teacher by later joining the Welfare Club as a mother and was Treasurer for 7 years.

In the 70’s the Welfare Club started to organise larger scale fund raising projects such as Gala Day and in 1973 new sports uniforms in the school colours were presented to the children. This is another tradition that continues to this day with the present Parents and Friends having purchased 3 sets of sports uniform for students over the last 10 years and the very special Year Seven Jumpers that are given to all students in their final year.

In 1976, Audrey Cellier suggested making the Apple Recipe Book, which was then printed and copies went all over Australia. Over 500 books were sold on the Apple and Pear Grower’s Stall at the Royal Adelaide Show in 1978.

There was and still is a sense of celebration and fun connected with the Parent’s and Friends and the Welfare Club. The P & F hold an annual Christmas Party, and often organise fun family events.

The P&F continue the tradition of supporting the students and staff of Lenswood School and they do it in the words of the Welfare Club constitution:

“To deepen our knowledge of child life,
to further assist the school and
to assist in providing equipment.”

Their generous giving in the form of time and energy to the school, enriches the lives of children in the school and I think enriches the givers too.