Friday, March 25, 2011

Armidale Dem 150th year gathering

Armidale Public School 1872
Armidale Dem, as those who went there then still call it, will turn 150 this year.
This rather bad photo shows the Armidale Public School in 1872.

Last year a number of us from Dem were exchanging memories. I will write up some of those at some point. We decided that we should come together for a reunion this year.

As it happens, the school turns 150 this year and has decided to reorganise a reunion. It seems sensible to take advantage of this.

The next photo shows Dem in 1928. This was the year that Armidale Teachers' College opened. Armidale Public School changed its name to the Armidale Demonstration School.
Armidale Dem 1928
This photo shows the school in 1928. The structure of the building is the same, but the appearance has changed.
The wing on the left was the boys primary school, On the right was the infants department

The class rooms on the left ran from third class at the back to sixth class in front.

The girl's school was up the hill in Faulkner Street. Strange things, girls. We were with them in infants, then they left. After that, we only saw them at things like film showings or dance practice. Girls were still sheilas then.
The next photo shows the girls school in 1920. It was a fair bit posher than the boys. Do you know, I never went inside it?

Armidale Public Girl's School 1920
In the boys school, we had wood pens with metal nibs. We used to throw them up to stick in the high ceilings. There were less pleasant and more painful uses as well!

There were ink wells on the desks. Ink had to be made by mixing dry powder with water. I remember doing this as a reward at the back of the school near the bell.

Out the back were also weather sheds where parents sometimes served coco. One day, I do not remember which year but it was early on, we were broken into groups and had to do a short play in one of the sheds.

Building the new Armidale Demonstration School  1960 The next photo shows the new school under construction in 1960. You can see the side of the girls school in the background.

Some time after this build, the NSW Education Department changed the name of the school to Armidale City Public. Many of us greatly resent this change. Maybe a campaign for a change back to Dem?

I wonder how many past students might come back?  I know that many from my group are thinking about it.
If you do want to come, I'd suggest doing your accommodation bookings soon.

You can do so on-line via the Visitor Information Centre - For those who haven't been to Armidale in a while, the Centre will also send you an information pack on the city. It's changed! 


Anonymous said...

Hi Jim

You may remember me and my family. I was Susan McSpedden and you came to my 21st.
I cab relate to some of your comments eg the ink wells which we also had in the Girls' Department.

I am hoping to go to the reunion and have already posted photos and memorabillia. As I was also a teacher there in the 60s I am very interested in the reunion.

Jim Belshaw said...

Certainly do, Sue. If I remember correctly, I was on a history dig at Bendemeer and hitched back fir the party. Remembr Urunga?