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Cooranbong's Art Project

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Interview with Mr Ray Rouse, Former Pupil of Cooranbong School

How long have you been living in Cooranbong?

All my life, I was born in Cooranbong.

Did you attend Cooranbong school?

Yes. I remember ringing the school bell at the end of World War 2 until i was blue in the face. then the teacher gave us a half day holiday.

Do you remember your teacher's names?

I remember one called Ted Jones. He was admired by everyone in the district. He was a very compassionate man and knew the strengths of his students. He had a favourite saying "It doesn't matter what you do in life, have pride in it." He was a good sportsman and a valued community member. On one occassion he took a group of boys out to watch a man build a bank by the side of the road. He said "Take a good look, boys. We can't all be lawyers and doctors. Even if you are building a road you can do a good job."

What were punishments at your school?

Mr. Jones only caned for really bad things. Otherwise he would sit you outside and give you a good lecture. There was one family of boys I remember who seemed to be getting the cane all the time.

What was the population of the school during your days?

I don't really know, but it was much smaller than it is now.

Who were some interesting people you remember at that time?

There was the postmaster "Pop" Lindsay, who carried the mail with a horse and spring cart. Then there was Nurse Connolly, who was the local midwife. She delivered the babies, male and female, but not with a horse and cart! She staffed her private hospital largely on her own. the hospital was situated near the Dora Ck turn off. Dr. Jones from Dora Ck. would sometimes assist her, but at another stage she had to rely on a Doctor McMahon who would have to come all the way from Kurri. I also remember Mr. Booth, who lived up King's Rd. He was a returned WWII soldier with two wooden legs. He is remembered as being very community minded. He had eight sons, the last one being called Henry (the eighth!).

What sort of jobs did people have?

There were seven sawmills in the district, so timber was a main source of jobs. Some men worked in the mills, some as sleeper cutters.

How different is Cooranbong now to how it was?

People are now much more mobile. Morisset had a picture show each Wednesday. We don't see pictures around here any longer. I remember seeing Victor Mature, Errol Flynn and Allan Ladd. I remember the movies called "African Queen", "To Have and Have Not," with Esther Williams and "National Velvet". The movies were very well patronised. You often got turned away if you weren't early. People rode to the pictures on their push bikes along gravel roads and it was often dark when we rode home. Sometimes only one of us would have a light and the rest would follow on behind. In the early 1900's there was a race track in Cooranbong.