ASSOCIATION SPOTLIGHT

Nyngan TA

Number of members: 45
President: Toby Miles
Secretary: Ngaire Booth

When we meet: Meetings take place at the Australian Hotel on the first Tuesday after Council.

Meetings are usually attended, with about 10-15 members regularly. We have a report from Council and also from each of the schools. After the meeting, some stay around for dinner and a few drinks. A few snacks during the meeting itself help us to build a thirst!

In addition to the President and Secretary our Executive has a Treasurer, New Activists Contact, Women’s Contact, Aboriginal Contact.

Our community: Nyngan is 170km north-west of Dubbo, on the banks of the mighty Bogan River. It lies in the centre of two very safe National Party electorates. Mark Coulton is the Federal member for Parkes and Kevin Humphries is the State member for Barwon.

Our schools: In our Association are Nyngan Public School, Nyngan High School, Marra Creek Public School, Girilambone Public School, and Hermidale Public School. Nyngan PS has a low socioeconomic status.

Our public schools have quite a history. The Nyngan Provisional School opened in May, 1882, with parents providing the building and furniture. It became a public school the following year, was reclassified as a superior public school in 1904 and again became a public school in 1930.

In 1944 came another reclassification, this time to Nyngan Central School, then in 1946 it was designated an intermediate high school. This remained the position until 1974 when Nyngan High was established. Both schools continued to share the one site. In 1978, a new primary school was opened at its current site alongside Nyngan High. Debate still rages about who should have ended up with the original school bell!

Marra Creek PS, originally called Marra Hall Public School, opened in 1971. Girilambone PS opened in 1897 and Hermidale PS in 1901.

Schools soldiering on: In 1990, the Great Nyngan Flood saw the town totally inundated and the whole town of 2500 residents evacuated by helicopter. There was a huge amount of damage to the town and the schools; Nyngan High had to be rebuilt. Staff from both schools soldiered on and made the schools better places even though they had lost so much. Teachers around NSW rallied and donated money and goods.

As rural schools we were badly affected by a severe drought between 2000 and 2008 but the opening of copper mines in both Girilambone and Hermidale has helped to mitigate the effect of the flood and drought to our community.

Our teachers: Nyngan attracts mainly young teachers in their first appointment, and executive in their first promotions position at that level. We are a 6-point transfer, three-year appointment area, with 70 per cent subsidy on Teacher Housing rent. In the past 30 years there have been only a handful of transfers in at the same level.

We have a number of teachers and executive who attended Nyngan High as students. Some teachers are attracted to the locals and get “partnered up” and stay a while, though others leave on a priority transfer after their three years.

Nyngan is a great place to learn your craft as a teacher and a great place to continue it.

Association activity: Over the years our focus has been on improving learning conditions for the students and working conditions for the teachers. This has involved the Gonski campaign and the Rural and Remote direction that allows temporary teachers to gain permanency after two years.

Locally, we have been active in using the Alternate Work organisation clause of the award, to allow us to work extra time daily throughout the year, and receive two additional days off in the middle of each term. This is one of our focus areas for this year.

We have had articles published in the local paper about how our Gonski and equity money is being used to improve resourcing for our kids. Our Gonski photo taken with the Big Bogan certainly brought lots of comment from the townsfolk!