Black Rock Primary School - 1950-1960




In 1950 the teacher shortage was such that no July intake of five year olds was possible.

Enrolments over the decade increased from just over 450 pupils in 1950 to 573 pupils in 1960. Because of this increase the Bristol pre-fabricated aluminium building containing two classrooms (Rooms 12 and 13) and an office was erected in 1952.

Rupert Williams (H.T. 1950-55) proposed in 1951 that a school uniform be established. This featured a monogram with the letters B.R.P.S. showing some forward thinking as schools at that time were designated as State Schools and were not officially titled Primary Schools until 1969.

After more than a year's lobbying by parents the Sandringham-Mentone Bus Line in 1951 provided a daily service to and from the front of the school. It appears to have never been entirely satisfactory though, as there were many complaints about the bus being too early or too late, and in 1955 the service was discontinued.

These years also saw much energetic fund-raising with the Annual Fete raising between £200 and £300 each year. Suggestions were made for a new kitchen/tuckshop but this was not built until 1968.

A book drive was conducted in 1953 yielding 400 books. After a lapse of some years a Voluntary Giving Scheme was introduced by the School Committee raising £221 in the first year.

A 16mm motion picture projector and screen were purchased for £243 but funding a library building was named as the main priority.

This enthusiasm provided the basis in 1956 for a subsidy to construct the library which was completed and furnished in March 1957. When the library was later transferred to its present position in a double classroom (Rooms 9 and 10) the original building was converted to a classroom (Room 16).

In February 1951, Mr. R.E. Williams (H.T.) reported in the local newspaper that the school desperately needed two additional classrooms which had been promised twelve months previously, as 54 new pupils had been enrolled for whom there was no accommodation.

Many new families had moved into the district, and as Black Rock accepted seventh and eight grade pupils from other schools it added to the problem.

There was also a most awkward situation in the infant grades as there were not enough chairs for the smaller pupils. Mr. Williams stated that he had asked people in the area to lend seating accommodation to the school, but they were still 27 chairs short.

The Mothers' Club in 1954 established two scholarships of £15 each to be awarded to a boy and girl annually. The first winners were John Schulz and Marlene Dorr.

Kerosene heaters had been used in the Bristol building but other methods of heating the rooms were considered in 1955. Connecting the building to the central heating system, or providing an independent oil-fired heater with ducts were rejected as too costly and Warm Ray heaters were installed in June 1956.

A subsidy (2 for 1) was obtained this year for the purchase of 25 concrete bicycle racks at a cost £18/5/0 and an electrical upgrade provided full artificial lighting in four classrooms with southerly aspects, minimum lighting in five other classrooms, lights in cloak rooms, boiler-room and corridors, and the extension of the electricity supply and sound system to the Bristol building.

In 1957 a new sound system for the school was installed at a cost of £383/12/0. The ship's bell that at present hangs in the Principal's office was donated about this time but a request for a subsidy to construct a stand for the bell was refused and the School Committee was instructed that money from the Works and Buildings Account could not be used for this purpose.

An application by John Redmond (H.T.) for the verandah of the residence to be converted to a sleepout was refused by the Public Works Department in January 1957, but a request for stainless steel drinking troughs to be installed outside the boys' and girls' toilets was approved.

Next: 1960-1970
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