Schools recognised as town celebrates public education

Carmel O'Brien
Secretary, Wingham TA

Oldest living Wingham PS student, Joyce Martin, 94, cuts a cake in memory of the original school building.

Working in Antarctica didn’t stop Australian Antarctic Division station leader Narelle Campbell from joining in Wingham’s sesquicentenary celebrations in September.

Narelle showed her support for the town’s educational opportunities during a live cross to Antarctica via the internet during the official reception.

In a small community of 4000 people, Wingham’s three public schools — Wingham and Wingham Brush public schools and Wingham High School — are the hub of the town, and it caused no small stir when hundreds of current and former students came together for the three-day sesquicentenary from September 12–14, hosted by a dedicated committee of townsfolk, past students and teachers.

Other former students reconnecting with their schools and teachers emphasised the benefit of public education for their communities. Former NSW minister and current NRMA Deputy President Wendy Machin gave thanks to all who participated in her education at Wingham.

Memorabilia and educational material from over the decades were displayed.

Mollie Unicomb and Zaidie Single, who taught at Wingham in the 1940s, with the youngest students of Wingham PS and Wingham Brush PS respectively, Ella Currie and Leo Lee during the town's public education Sesquicentenary celebrations.

Reminiscences included evacuations during World War 2 into trenches around the school buildings. One student recalled: “As a little one I was really scared of that trench!”

The original Wingham school building was remembered in the form of a cake made by a former student. That building is long gone, so the cake was a re-imagining of the building. The oldest living student, Joyce Martin, who began her education in Wingham in 1926, cut the cake.

Current primary school students participated in a sports day held in Central Park; high school students assisted the organisers.

Funds provided by Federation made this inspiring sesquicentenary a triumph.