Anniversary celebrations turn back the clock

The landscape has changed but 150 years after it opened, Albion Park Public remains the heart of the community. Kerrie O’Connor joined the celebrations.

Image: Times are changing: Angus Paton and Kade Van Vuuren take a rest from the festivities.

Old-school parent power replaced a cow paddock with a classroom in Albion Park 150 years ago – and the town is still celebrating.

After farm and bush parents lobbied for educational opportunities for their children, Albion Park Public School opened in 1872.

The school, south of Wollongong, enrolled 52 students that year, some walking up to five miles daily to learn the “three Rs”.

Earlier this month, 478 students marked the anniversary, dressing up in period costumes, eating Johnny cakes, playing hop-scotch and skipping rope.

Staff too were eager to get into character, including principal Glenn Daniels, who sported a dapper top hat, coat and tails and fob watch.

Mr Daniels is proud of the community spirit which led to school’s establishment and said it remained today.

“We are remembering and celebrating the school through its whole 150 years,” he said.

The school grounds are home to impressive old trees and that theme was carried into the celebrations.

“Our motto is share, learn and grow, so we have created a tree and every student has created a circle leaf to add to it,” Mr Daniels said.

The students’ colourful leaves have temporarily adorned one of the school’s heritage brick buildings.

Mr Daniels and assistant principal Miki Calaizis used a metal detector to find a little more history: a time capsule buried in 1991 on the grounds, but whose exact location was unknown.

Their film of searching for, finding and excavating the capsule was played to children at assembly and inspired ideas to fill a new one.

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