The School, in 1913, on the Rossiter Road site.
Photograph from the Koo-Wee-Rup Swamp Historical society collection.
Perhaps due to the War there were difficulties finding a contractor to re-locate the building and it wasn’t until May/June 1919 that a contractor could be found to move the School. When it was opened on June 23, 1919 there were eighteen children enrolled –Alice Dixon, Annie Dixon, Ethel Dixon, Elsie Follett ,Vera Follett, Bessie Giles, Pauline Giles, Rosalind Levey, Wilfred Levey, David Mills, Alice Pepper, Gwendelon Pepper, Samuel Pepper, Sarah Pepper, Clara Wood, Clifford Wood, Emily Wood and Frank Wood. Another twelve children enrolled during the year.
The first teacher was Miss Estella Forbes. Estella Forbes had previously taught at Flemington Primary School and this School had an average attendance of 580 students in 1915, so Island Road would have been a bit of a shock to her. Estella did not stay very long as the first year of operation saw a succession of teachers; after Estella there was Elizabeth Anderson, then Alexander Munro, then Eric Elliott who started in 1920 and left in 1923. This succession of teachers probably reflects the reality of teaching in a one teacher country school - many of these teachers would have been young; there was no school house so they would have had to board locally or else travel in from Koo-Wee-Rup on a horse, or as Eric did a bicycle. As well, resources were poor and the teachers complained about lack of basic resources such as desks and blackboards.
The School, in 1969, at Island Road.
Photograph from the Koo-Wee-Rup Swamp Historical Society collection.
From 1919 until 1945 there had been 15 teachers at the school, and the school was closed for a short time in 1944-45 when no suitable accommodation for a teacher could be provided. This succession of teachers came to an end in 1945 when Allan Humphries was appointed, as he stayed until 1955. During his tenure, electricity was installed in 1953.
A Young Farmers Club was established at the school in 1939 by teacher Walter Koochew and in 1946 Allan Humphries started a Scout Troop, with himself as the Scout Leader. Mr Humphries also started evening classes to teach English to the newly arrived migrants from Holland, Italy and Greece. After Humphries left in 1955 there was another succession of teachers with none staying more than three years. At the time of the Island Road School Golden Jubilee celebrations and ‘Back-to’ in 1969, student numbers were down to seventeen. In a documet that we have at the Society, it was reported that in the fifty years the school had educated 344 students. Over 500 people attended the Golden Jubilee celebrations. Island Road School, No.3952, closed in 1974 when enrolments were down to six.
In 1984, Koo-Wee-Rup Primary School, No. 2629, celebrated its centenary and fittingly its original building was moved back onto the Koo-Wee-Rup Primary School site from Island Road that year.