Monday, 21 July 2014

Garfield North School. No. 3849

Dr Ron Smith has written a history of Garfield North Primary School. The book is called The school on the small plateau: the history of Garfield North State School, No. 3849. The book was officially launched on July 13, 2014 by past student, Alan Forte, whom some of you may know as he operates a veterinary surgery in Pakenham. Alan did all his primary schooling at Garfield North. His father and uncle, Ian and Terence Forte also attended the school as did some of his relatives from the Towt family. Ron Smith taught at the school in 1970 until the end of 1972. Ron then moved on to another local school, Catani.

There was at school at Garfield, the Cannibal Creek State School which had opened in 1886. The School was located on the Princes Highway, west of North Garfield Road. In 1887 the School, the Railway Station and the town changed their name to Garfield. In 1899, the School building was re-located to Garfield Road at the top of the hill, half way between the Princes Highway and the Railway Station. In 1910, the Garfield School No. 2724 moved to a new building on its present site near the Railway Station. The old school building was removed in 1914 to North Garfield where it became State School No.3489.

Mrs Agnes Towt  was very active in getting a school at North Garfield. She was a trained teacher and a mother of three children. A petition to the Education Department from the locals in 1910 came to nothing (the petition had been presented to the local MLA in December 1910, and an Inspector was sent to make  a report in April 1911 and did not recommend a school) so in June 1912 Mrs Towt wrote to the Education Department and another Inspector made a report in June 1912 and this time recommended that a school be provided. In the mean time, Mrs Towt found a suitable site for the school and organised the purchase from a local land owner. The section of this land that the school was situated on, was described by the Public Works Department as a 'small plateau', hence the title of the book.  In October 1913, the Public Works Department recommended that the old Garfield school building  be removed to North Garfield, however  this did not happen until July 1914 and the school finally opened on July 20 1914 with Miss Daisy Body as the first teacher  and 15 children enrolled.

 Due to declining numbers the school closed down on March 6, 1973. In April 1978 it opened as a outdoor Education centre.  The book is well illustrated with many interesting stories and anecdotes; there is a full list of students and teachers. You can borrow  a copy of this book, click here for availability. 

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