History of Cooranbong Public School

"Bits 'n Pieces"

1870 Maria Healy arrived from Blue Gum Flat school to teach, after Thomas D'Aran transferred. She had to attend examinations in Gosford and had to hire a horse for 3 days. She quit in August 1873.

Elizabeth Taylor arrived from Mangrove school to teach. She was apparently very strict and upset children and their parents. A petition was sent to the Department of Public Instruction in 1877 asking for a new public school which included the comment "The proficiency is unsatisfactory" When mentioning Mrs Taylor's school in the church building. She quit in 1879.

September 1879 the new school building is completed at a cost of 620 pounds.

1880 the unpopular Mrs Taylor was replaced by Mr. F. Farrell. Farrell impressed everyone with his system of teaching. 70 children attended. the R.C church investigated the possibility of opening it's own denominational school. After Easter a catholic school was opened and the Rev. Sheridan ordered parents to remove their children from Cooranbong Public School to go to the catholic school. Farrell had a pay cut and resigned at the end of the year. A school inspector described him as "The teacher is one of the most ablest in the service" . Many townspeople were sorry to see him go.

Cooranbong Public school was warned that should the enrolment drop below 15 it would be closed. Mr. James Lappan was appointed teacher. He came from Cessnock where he had already been in trouble for closing his school without permission. He had also been ordered to answer a charge of drunk and disorderly.

A few catholic families had remained loyal to the school until the Catholic Fathers threatened them with expulsion from the confessional. Lappan wrote an angry letter to the School's Chief Inspector in Sydney.

In 1881 Lappan shut the school for 4 days. Thomas Russell sent a telegram to the Department in Sydney "..teacher Lappan neglecting duty through intemperance. I strongly recommend him to be suspended. Parents of children very dissatisfied." It is said that Lappan had been drinking for 4 days.

Lappan closed the school on other occassions due to drinking and had hostility with Thomas Russell and the police Constable Gamble. Lappan was sacked even though some townspeople petitioned for him to be given another chance.

In 1882 John Shanahan was appointed teacher and at one stage only had 10 pupils. Shanahan was unhappy in Cooranbong and was soon replaced by John Blackwood.

Attendance slumped to 6 and the school closed in 1884 due to white ants.

It re-opened in 1886 with teacher Mark lee and wife and 19 pupils.

Lee left at the end of 1889 and was replced by Mary Jane Butler, who was the longest serving teacher at our school.

1895 Ms Butler's health required that she have a months leave to visit Sydney Hospital. when she returned white ants had destroyed the toilets, shelter and were heading for the underground water tank. She was ill again later that year and had another months leave. More white ant troubles, eating the school floorboards. The fences were in disrepair and horses were wandering in the grounds.

1898 Mr William Stephenson claimed his wife had died and child was sick from drinking the water from the underground tank. Samples were taken and sent away for testing. The water was found to be unfit for human consumption.

Ms Butler had a few further health concerns. In 1906 she had a disagreement with the Policeman's wife Mrs Casimer ,when she asked her to be quiet during a school singing performance. Mrs Casimer sought the Education dept. to remove Ms. Butler but the school community rallied around her. Ms Butler taught at Cooranbong for 17 years.

1907 Earnest B. Atkins and wife Ethel took charge of school. Repairs were made to the residence. Ethel took sick in 1909 and a local girl, Miss Conley was in charge for a while.

1917 Hugh Mulhearn replaced Mr Atkins and taught for 14 years until 1931. the school and residence were in disrepair and Mulhearn's wife was often ill.

1931 John Thomson took charge but was sick with a boil and returned to his bowral home.

54 children were enrolled when Edward Jones took over in 1932.