Dudley Public School is planning some big celebrations to mark its 125th anniversary and is encouraging past students to share in the experience.
President of the school’s P&C Association, Felicity Bloomfield, said work has been underway since the start of the year to mark the “special milestone”.
An anniversary Cocktail Ball will be held on September 16 in the school’s assembly hall and on September 14 there will be a special assembly.
Students will dress up in olden-day clothes and the school’s longest-serving principal, Peter Adams, will have the honour of ringing the original school bell which has been restored to its former glory.
“Peter Adams, who was the principal of the school for 16 years and retired last year, is the longest-serving principal ever in that 125 years and he was a really valued member of the school and community, so that’s really special,” Ms Bloomfield said.
Ms Bloomfield said there were many third and fourth-generation students at the small seaside school.
“A lot of people who grow up here stay here and there are a lot of people whose parents still live here,” she said.
“At the beginning of the year we realised that it was that special milestone. The school is so old and in its origins the community lived and worked here so long ago, so we just thought it would be really nice to celebrate that and remind everybody of how the community began.
“Sometimes kids didn’t come to school because they were doing labour and you can’t imagine it. You forget how lucky we are and how life has changed and it is really interesting for the kids to reflect on that kind of thing.”
The school is believed to be the only one in Australia that has two Victoria Cross recipients in former students Captain Clarence Jefferies and Private William Currey.
The school is also after any other stories of past students and events.
“We would love some of those people to get in touch with us, to share their memories and any items they might have kept from their school years,” Ms Bloomfield said.
Local historian Ed Tonks said the mining township surrounding the school was bestowed the name Dudley just a few months before the school opened in 1892. Back then, it was not a given that children would turn up at school each day.
“Absenteeism was fairly high. Kids had to support the family with chores and other things and girls weren’t expected to go to school as long as boys,” Mr Tonks said.
To contribute to the school’s anniversary and to attend the assembly, contact the school: email@example.com.
For tickets to the ball, search “Dudley Public School P and C Association” on Facebook.