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Yarramanbully Subsidised School

Submitted by Joan Galpin (Gallagher), Pupil 1950-1953

My grandfather, Edward Gallagher, selected land and settled in the Yarramanbully area in 1893. In 1898 he married Mary Ellen Moore. Their first child was born in1899. 

There were other settlers in the district.  The McKeons, the Mahers and the Balkans also had young families, and education became a pressing need. Transport consisted of a horse and cart, and the only available schools were at Attunga which was 12 miles distant, or 16 miles to Manilla. A solution was needed.

In NSW from 1903 parents could apply to the government for a subsidy to educate their children in places where there were not enough pupils to run a school. These were subsidised schools, not public schools. I think there had to be 7 pupils and the parents were responsible for the school premises and the hiring of a teacher. If a school had been closed, they were allowed to use that building, but of course this did not apply to our newly settled locality. The parentscut and sawed timber at “Tarrabah” and carted it toa location central to all the families where they erected a schoolroom. The qualification required of the teacher was to be at least 16 years of age and to have acquired the Intermediate Certificate.  The Government subsidy was the teacher’s wage and varied according to the number of pupils in attendance. If any were absent her pay was adjusted lower accordingly.  The parents advertised locally for a teacher, and so was born the Yarramanbully Subsidised School.

The first teacher was Miss Margaret Ann (Annie) Kelly who taught fromabout 1900 to 1906 when she married Charlie Wilkinson, a local man.  Then there was Miss Gertie Cantrell who stayed for a few years. After that Imelda Morris (who later became Mrs. Keith Blanch) took over and was followed by Beatrice Gallagher (a former pupil) who taught till the school closed.The school, not in use, burnt down. And so ended the first phase of the school’s life.

My father, his brothers and the neighbours of their generation repeated history. Besides the Gallaghers there were and Mrs. R Berry, Mr. and Mrs. D McKeon and Mr. and Mrs. Arthur White. Now the next generation needed education. My mother took on the organization and applied for the subsidy and advertised in the ‘Northern Daily Leader’ for a teacher.  This time the parents employed the builders ‘Hunt and Lynch’ of Tamworth to erect another school on a site not far from the old one. This school had the modern conveniences of a fire-place, two outdoor bush toilets and a rainwater tank.  The government supplied benches, desks, a table, a cupboard and a blackboard.

My brother, John, was among the first pupils when classes began on 31st July 1935. The first teacher was Miss McRae, who only stayed for a short time. Next was Miss Nancy Chaffey who began in April 1936.  She married Dad’s brother, Edward, in 1937.  Miss Roma Sloman then taught from 1937 until the school closed in December 1953.

The Yarramanbully school buidling now sits in the grounds of Pioneer Park (next to Royce Cottage – Manilla Museum, Manilla Street.


This was a Christmas celebration about 1958.

 Back (L to R) Eric O’Dell, Darryl O’Dell, Moira Gallagher, Barbara O’Dell, June Gallagher, Bevan and Kevin Blanch

Front (L to R) Gregory Gallagher, Rodney Gallagher, Brian Gallagher, Graham O’Dell, David Gallagher, Patricia Gallagher, Joan Gallagher, Pauline Gallagher

This photo is of the first intake of the second school. In the background is McKeon’s house near the site of the first schoolMiss McRae and (L to R) Barry White, Spencer White, Kevin McKeon ,Noel Berry, Anne McKeon, Martin McKeon, John Gallagher, Des Berry, Jack McKeon