The Pocket Public School

Courtesy and Honour

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Pocket Public School history

On 23 June 1900 a contract for the construction of a school building was entered into with a Mr Joseph Yates from Byron Bay.  The school site was to be on a half acre of land leased from Mr John Torrens for a period of ten years at a peppercorn rent.  By July Mr Yates was ready to order the school furniture, which consisted of two desks and forms, a blackboard and easel, to be sent steam to Byron Bay then by rail to Billinudgel. 

The building was completed on 6 October 1900, ready for the opening of the Upper Pocket Provisional School in November.

The first teacher, 20-year-old Arthur Clarke, was appointed on 2 November 1900.  By 1907 average attendance had reached 20, the number required to be classified as a Public School.  The school was to be named The Upper Pocket School.  Originally only half an acre, the grounds were increased to two acres when the Department surveyed and resumed land in 1909.

Thirteen years after the first request was made, a new building, which still being used today, was completed in October 1920.  A basket picnic was held at the school on 24 September 1920 to celebrate the opening.

With increasing population in the area The Middle Pocket community applied for their own school and granted in 1922.  The first teacher was appointed in October 1927.  Little change occurred at the school between 1940 and 1970 and enrolments remained fairly stable in a range between 20 and 35.  Electricity came to the valley and was connected to the school in 1954.  In December 1968 The Middle Pocket School was closed and the teacher withdrawn.

The last quarter of the twentieth century saw rapid change in society resulting in a change in the role of the school in the community.  The Pocket School and community were affected with the closure of the Norco Factory in Byron Bay.  This led to a trend away from dairying with farms in the area being subdivided into small lots and sold to people seeking a ‘way of life' away from the stresses of city living.

The 70s and 80s saw enrolments rise and fall from year to year.  In 1976 the enrolment fell to 16 creating concerns for the future of the school.  By 1978 enrolments had increased to 28 which warranted a second teacher and new demountable.  Falling enrolments in 1985 saw the second teacher transferred and demountable removed, only to need it again in April 1986 when a second teacher was appointed again. 

By the mid 80s a paid school cleaner, part time yard man, part time secretary, part time librarian and STLD teacher became regular members of staff.

1987 saw the beginning of a permanent upturn in enrolments with increasing staff numbers and proliferation of new buildings.  A third teacher was appointed in 1993 when the enrolment hit 60 for the first time.  The introduction of a bus run and the freedom of parents to send children to the school of their choice enabled pupils from further afield to attend the school.

  • Renovations took place in 1989 with another building added.
  • Demountable buildings came and went throughout the years with fluctuating enrolment numbers.
  • The canteen was built in 1993.  The current brick administration block was opened in 2000. 
  • In 2010 as part of the ‘Building Education Revolution' a new double classroom was completed.