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Mallala School

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Fast Facts
Type of organisation: Government
Also known as: Mallala Public School
Street name: Aerodrome
Street suffix: Road
Town or locality: Mallala
Date established: 1877
Established by: State Government
Business or purpose: Education
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The Mallala Public School was completed in May 1877 and a residence for the headteacher was situated adjacent to the school on Owen Road. 

The cost of £936 was partly contributed by the residents and the first teacher appointed was Mr Jas Phillips and the first name on the school register was Annie Eliza Harris. 

At this time the Central Board of Education was in operation and its inspectors were authorised to keep a tight rein on teachers and pupils alike. 

On two dreaded occasions per year schools were visited and standards were checked, children were examined, and the percentages of passes would affect the teacher's salary. 

In those days fees of 4 pence to 6 pence a week were collected, with exception being made for the very poor.

During the term of the appointment of Mr David H. Adams as headmaster the Dublin Board of Advice came into being. It comprised of  Messrs John Forbes, William Temby, George Marshman and Samuel Gray. However, according to a letter to the Minister of Education dated 31 January 1883' the chairman and only one other member appeared to be attending meetings and inspecting schools regularly.

The system of using young monitors seemed very popular in the early days with some being paid by the department, some by the head teacher, while some worked just for the honour. 

By 1892 the Mallala school district was gazetted and this incorporated surrounding schools.

Mr T. Nevin, an obviously progressive headmaster, gained a holiday for his pupils on 29 July 1908 to celebrate the opening of the People's Park. 

This project and many other innovations about the town are credited to his enterprise. 

He is remembered for his donation of the turret and spire on the Methodist church and, oddly, for his seemingly unending supply of white peppermints. 

The attendances greatly increased during the time the RAAF station was in operation and classes were seriously overcrowded.

In 1966 the Education Department began closing small schools and the first students to be transported by bus to Mallala were from Korunye and Reeves Plains schools.  

Then followed the closures of Grace Plains, Windsor, Dublin and finally Long Plains schools.

The sundial is installed at the Mallala School in recognition of the closure of the schools and the transfer of pupils to Mallala.The engravings on the sundial name each of the schools and provide the date of closure while depicting the direction and the distance each school was in relation to the Mallala School. 

With more enrolments and a substantial Commonwealth grant, many amenities were added, including more classrooms, a turfed oval, and a greatly upgraded library.

Head Teacher Year Commenced Year departed
Mr Jas Phillips 1878 1879
David H. Adams 1880 1883
John H. Snell 1884 1892
John T. Johnson 1893 1898
Thos Nevin 1899 1911
George Morphett 1912 1928
Alfred V. Gent 1929 1938
Leslie A. Williams 1939 1958
Arthur O. Wright 1959 1964
Thomas Corry 1965 1966
G. A. Loffler 1967 1972
Graham Tilbrook 1972 1974
David S. Arthur 1975 1997
Ian Muster 1998 1998
Di Jamieson (Jones) 1998 2006
Carmine Carfasso 2006 2011
Alec Tibbitts 2012

Related Articles


  • Mallala Museum research notes - schools folders
  • Life around the Light: A history of the Mallala District Council area - compiled by Two Wells
  • Mallala and District History Book Committee
  • Community Development Board of the Council District of Mallala (Mallala. S. Aust.) 1985
Mallala School Honour Roll WW1
Mallala School Honour Roll WW1
Mallala School
Mallala School
School Garden
School Garden
School Sundial
School Sundial
School Centenary
School Centenary
Mallala School class photo
Mallala School class photo
Mallala Primary School marching along Wasleys Road
Mallala Primary School marching along Wasleys Road
School Bells
School Bells
Leather Schoolbag
Leather Schoolbag

Memories of Mallala School

While I, Margaret Field, was teaching at Mallala a classroom was added and it extended the lone transportable building into a two classrooms structure with an enclosed porch on the north side of both rooms. It was luxury now as in particular the doors to the rooms and the racks holding the belongings of the children were not exposed to the elements. Ena Rander and myself used the building to teach the years one,two and three classes.Mr Arthur and Mrs Mavis Wright taught in the stone building.It seemed that just as we relished this space the R A A F personnel were transferred and 40 children from the RAAF Base now were not in attendance.The Education Department decided to reduce the staff to three teachers and remove the newly installed transportable.For me it seemed I was always on a building site competing with all the associated noises and keeping children safe from all the activity of the tradesmen. The years I taught at Mallala were 1958,1959 and 1960 and these three years, for me, fulfilled the bond obligation of country service. Margaret Tiller

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