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Wednesday, 26 March 2014
Page: 3299

Mr CONROY (Charlton) (09:30): Eraring Public School will celebrate its 90th anniversary on Saturday with a range of activities to commemorate the school and celebrate its special place in the town. Nestled amongst the trees on six acres of land, Eraring Public School is unique in both its natural environment and its learning environment. Located on the land of the Awabakal people, over time Eraring has been an area of many different land uses—from market gardens and chicken farms to camping areas—and is currently the location of Eraring Power Station—the largest power station in the country.

The school was officially opened in 1924 by the then minister for education, Mr Albert Bruntnell, in front of almost 200 people. It was originally built to cater for 15 pupils and 90 years later is a single-teacher small school with a total enrolment of just 10 students. Eraring Public School is proud of the individual learning programs offered to its students and it has a record of achieving quality outcomes for students. I am told that last year the school achieved two top-ranking positions in the prestigious Newcastle Permanent Primary Mathematics Competition, with year 6 student Samantha Johnson coming equal fifth overall and year 5 student Gino Pavy reaching 23rd position from a field of over 8,600 participants.

Eraring is a school that celebrates its history. Located on the school grounds is the original Eraring post office building which was carefully transported to the school and restored by volunteers in 1994 and now operates as a community museum. A replica of the school of arts hall has been erected nearby to house the school's ever-growing collection of historical objects. It is with this spirit of community and heritage that the school will celebrate its 90th birthday this weekend.

The festivities will kick off with an old-style fair complete with arts and crafts, market stalls, trash and treasure and even an old-fashioned lemonade stand. The vast collection of school memorabilia will also be on display. Neighbouring schools will also be part of the celebration with the unveiling of the Eraring Public School Unity Garden. Students from Wyee, Cooranbong, Bonnells Bay, Morrisett high and primary, Dora Creek and Wangi Wangi public schools have each contributed to the garden by designing a commemorative pole which will be placed in the unity garden by their principals as a symbol of unity between the schools and a celebration of education in the region. The school will also launch a book on the history of Eraring and its school, penned by local author Doug Saxon. Doug is renown for his work and has written extensively on the history of schools in Lake Macquarie including a hundred-year history of Bonnells Bay Public School, of which he was principal during the 1980s.

Last but by no means least, the day will end with a big bush dance at the school, which I have no doubt will be enjoyed by all. I wish Eraring Public School a very happy 90th birthday and congratulate principal, Leanda Guy, for her efforts in commemorating this special occasion.