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Wednesday, 22 June 2011
Page: 6992

Mr BRADBURY (LindsayParliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer) (10:02): I rise to acknowledge the 150th anniversary of St Mary's Public School. I had the great honour and pleasure of joining several hundred people at the school's recent anniversary celebrations, when not even the prospect of rain could dampen the spirits of those who had gathered. With a welcome to country and traditional smoking ceremony by Uncle Greg Sims, the celebrations took us back to an era before this great nation had come together as a federation, to the year in which the first Melbourne Cup was run and in which those great explorers, Burke and Wills, perished on their journey to the northernmost reaches of Australia.

Helping to paint the picture for us were displays of heritage costumes and a firing of muskets in salute by volunteers in historical military uniform. There was some fantastic entertainment by local singers, Nicholas Gentile and Julia Plummer, and fabulous musical performances by the entire school community. There was also the unveiling of an old school bell, specially restored to commemorate the occasion, and a new paved area that was completed with the help of donations from the community.

I would like to acknowledge the wonderful efforts of principal Matthew Plummer and the members of the organising committee: Gail McLister, Collette Rankine, Michele Maton, Cheryl Guy, Lisa Kitching, Bruce Sheridan, Tanya Judd, Norma Thorburn, Paul Mills, Marion McLeod and Linda Terry. I would also like to acknowledge the contribution by the members of the St Mary's Historical Society who helped to create the special atmosphere on the day.

Clearly, there have been some great stories emerging from the 150 years history at the school. But possibly the most significant is that St Mary's Public School was the birthplace of our national anthem. Peter Dodds McCormick, who taught at the school in 1863, was a prolific composer of patriotic songs and poetry. Among the melodies and lyrics that he penned at the time was Advance Australia Fair. While it took more than 100 years for that song to be adopted as a national anthem, it is a source of great pride to our community that it found its genesis at St Mary's Public School

Over the last 150 years, St Marys Public School has contributed to the education of literally thousands of Australians, many of whom have gone on to become outstanding members of our community. It continues to make a positive impact on the lives of its students, particularly through the work it is doing with the Gillard government's national partnerships funding. It has also been home to hundreds of our finest educators, including former state member for Penrith the Hon. Faye Lo Po, who began her teaching career at the school as a young 19-year-old. I would like to thank those teachers past and present for their wonderful work. St Marys Public School has a uniquely rich history and I look forward to seeing it continue to play a significant role in our local community over many years to come.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Hon. Peter Slipper ): Order! In accordance with standing order 193 the time for constituency statements has concluded.