Public School was
first established in 1889 and continues to be a leading school in the
pursuit of excellence.
The Jennings Public School
is virtually opposite to that of the
the two places being separated by the border line.
In 1888, a Mr S. Williams,
Officer in charge of customs at Wallangarra, wrote to the New South
Wales Department of Public Instruction suggesting that instead of the
schools then operating, a more centrally located school should be opened
on the New South Wales side of the
border at Jennings. He went on
to explain that the school operating on the Queensland side of the border at
Wallangarra was, “overcrowded and not working well”. During that year
the Inspector visited the district and found Mr Williams’ correspondence
to be correct.
With the construction of the
Railway at Wallangarra the Inspector said, “I am of the opinion that
circumstances point to the likelihood of a flourishing school being
established at Jennings.”
He further stated that, “……I
would suggest that a school building be erected to accommodate 50
pupils, and such width as to admit of its being readily extended.”
In the beginning the
population of Jennings
was not large but most of the residents appeared to be of permanent
Jennings was the terminus of the Northern
Railway line where the Queensland
service from Brisbane
joined it. The Inspector at the time also suggested that, “the New South Wales families evidently preferred the
school system of New South
In February of 1889 the
residents, led by Mr Williams and Mr James E. Smith lodged a formal
application for a school. The community had to guarantee sufficient
attendance to warrant a school. The application was approved and a plan
School attendance fell
and the school was down-graded. The reason for this was explained by a
Mr Dalton (teacher); “Within half a mile of Jennings School
is the Queensland
School at which pupils
are received free of charge, while at ours the fees have to be paid and
rather than declare themselves unable to pay the fees, parents send
their children over the border….” This situation plagued Mr Dalton for
years but no one seems to know when this fee was abolished.
Mr Dalton continued to teach
and the Inspector was reported as saying; “ This
teacher is unusually well preserved, vigorous and alert, in my opinion
he is quite capable of carrying out his duties efficiently for a further
period of twelve months”-he was 60. Unfortunately Mr Dalton passed away
on January 15, 1923, three days after his 63rd birthday.
In the years to come,
Public School was to
experience a rapid succession of Principals. Mr J. E. Carter relieved
for six months, followed by Sydney Whaites.
This pattern of yearly change
was to continue, with changes every year until 1927, when the children
experienced three Principals in the one year. Locals recall that, “our
school work suffered during that unsettling time and many pupils went
over to the Queensland
In 1928 a Frederick Ward was
appointed Principal, followed by Charles Steele in 1931
who stayed for two years. John Dowling
followed in 1933 and remained in the school for eight years until he
enlisted during World War II.
In 1948 Mr J. N. Dempsey
became Principal. Jennings
was then classified as a two-teacher school but there was only one
classroom. A temporary partition was erected so that the junior classes
(Kindergarten, Year 1 and 2) could be taught separately. It was some
time before a second building was provided. During this period of post
war years as
recovered from the ravages of war there was much change. These were
times of no clerical or teacher’s aides, and librarians did not appear
in schools of this size. Mr Dempsey continued at Jennings until 1953.
Handsaker took over in 1954 until 1958. This gentleman had a
particular talent for music and while he was
Principal Jennings had a wonderful choir.
In 1959 Jennings Public School received a ‘walk-in’
doll’s house. This building was a disused Army shed and was a special
treasure of Jennings Public School
until recently when this building had to go. There is now a ‘memorial’
garden where this house stood. The children decided that this doll’s
house had to have a kitchen, lounge room and bedroom. Everyone found
something to donate in the way of utensils and furniture and mothers
were enlisted to make the bedspread and curtains.
A competition was started to
name this doll’s house. The children submitted many names and John
McCrystal’s suggestion “Rainbow Cottage” was
declared the winner.
The years 1959-1963 saw a Mr
William Straker take the helm. At this time
the grounds were quite extensive but lacked any real facilities except
the tennis court which was used regularly by the P & C ladies. There
were two school buildings, one larger and obviously the first building
to be set up, the other was a short distance away and was smaller, this
housed the infants children.
Straker’s time there were many excellent teachers in charge of
the infants children-Dorothy Moore, Nan
Bailey and Margaret Landers. During this time Mr
Straker states, “The Jennings children who came under my care
were admirable in so many ways. They were keen to learn, to master new
challenges, to participate in all activities, often displaying great
initiative. Their numbers were not so many,
yet they formed a very tightly-knit unit. They had self-respect, were
proud of their school and always did it honour when the opportunity
Mr K. R. Arnold became
Principal 1964-65 and John Richards followed in1966 through to 1968.
1966 saw ninety plus pupils and two classes. An additional teacher and
building was necessary.
The red and white uniform was
introduced for sporting ventures during this time. The new classroom was
finally built, the Army Golf Clubhouse, complete with bar and shower,
was purchased for $60.00. The then P & C raised the required sum of $500
to transport this building to the school site. The ladies then converted
the bar area to a stage, complete with sliding curtains and backdrops
whilst the shower end became an art/craft facility. This building today
is used as the library but the stage is still there
an a major focus for all of our performances.
Mr Ray Warren appeared in 1969
and was preceded by Mr Gordon Egan in the years 1970-73. The enrolment
at this stage was fairly steady, at about seventy children and three
staff members. One teacher took K, 1, 2 another took 3 and 4 and Mr Egan
took 5 and 6.
1985-87 saw Gary
Colless take over as ‘Headmaster’ of
Jennings. The school population was then
twenty-six. Jennings was placed on the then
Disadvantaged Schools Program (DSP), a Commonwealth funded program.
Emms became ‘Headmaster’ in the years 1988-89. Student enrolment
rose to forty during this period.
The Principal’s preceding
myself were Rita Campbell, Jim Walsh, Tony
Bush and Glenn Druitt. I arrived with my three children ready to
commence the 2004 school year. I cannot begin to describe the feeling of
‘coming home’ that my children and I experienced as we settled in to
Jennings. Our enrolments went from 11 in 2003 to
24 in 2004. 2005 saw us with 23 and this year sees us with 21. This
school is proudly supported by the wonderful parents and the local
is now a part of the Priority Schools Funding Program-PSFP- (this used
to be DSP) and are also proudly a part of the
Country Areas Program (CAP). Through PSFP and Staffing Supplement we run
with two teachers, Mrs Robyn Koch and Mrs Lorri
Taal running the Kinder, Year 1 and 2 class
and myself teaching on the 3-6 class. Mr Glenn Taylor comes in once a
week to teach music. We have quite an impressive music program and our
children have learnt to play drums, guitar, keyboard, flute, fife,
recorder and now marimba. We have an Italian LOTE (Language Other Than
English) program which is taught by Mrs Jenny Dunn. Currently we are
running a Japanese Immersion program to assist our students who are off
High School, Mr Brad
Laurie runs this program and Cheryl
Cartwright is our School Administrator Manager.
I am looking forward to many
more years at Jennings.
All quotes and information
gathered was obtained from the
Centenary Book, 1880-1990.