History of our School


Mullumbimby Public School Circa 1912
The first school in Mullumbimby was built on what is now the 7 th green of the present golf course, south west of the present high school. The school opened in 1886 with 8 pupils. Their teacher was Miss Eliza McGettigan who lived at St Helena & travelled to school on horseback, or rowed a boat across the flooded streams during wet weather. By the end of the first year the enrolment was 19 pupils.
With increasing enrolments a new school was built on the present High school site in 1892 at a cost of £293-6 shillings-8 pence. With the establishment of the railway in 1894, Mullumbimby's population increased rapidly. The school building had 2 more extensions done to it to provide additional accommodation for what was in 1903 an attendance of 97 pupils. In 1904 a new building to accommodate 156 students was erected at a cost of £658, thereby increasing the total accommodation of the school to 260. This building still stands and is presently the TAS & Art staff room.
By 1923, Mullumbimby School was known as a District Rural School. Again, the need for extra rooms was felt, and in 1927 at a cost of £2,728 more classrooms, staff rooms and verandahs were added. By this time total enrolment had reached 331. The 1940s saw the school become an Intermediate High School, with Home Economics & Science blocks being constructed.
To relieve the growing pressure of Infant & Primary School enrolments, a piece of land was resumed on a property facing Morrison Avenue. The Infants department moved there in 1951, and with the construction of more buildings, the Primary department moved 2 years later. In 1955 the school became a full High School, with John Pearce as its first Principal and an intake of 387 pupils. Of 387 pupils in 1955, 147 were in first year (year7), 121 in second year, 94 in third year, 21 in fourth year and 6 in fifth year.
Excavation for footings for the John Pearce Auditorium (JPA) commenced in mid 1984, with the present Library constructed during 1982. More recently, 2002-2007 saw much demolition and construction at the school. C Block, constructed in 1958 (English, Library & Canteen) was demolished, with a temporary English village created between the school & bowling club; and Easter 2004 heralding the first intake of students & staff into the new G block (Industrial Arts, Art & Science, Canteen). After a short break from building work, A block was refurbished and a new Administration building was completed late 2006, with the old Admin building converted into a Performance space.
Student numbers peaked at over 1200 in 1987, the year before Byron Bay High School was built. At the beginning of 2008 there was a population of 917 students, around 74 teachers, 20 ancillary staff & 4 cleaners.
The school campus once had a very different name. It was called the playground, because so many games took place there, and during breaks, games of various kinds were organised, from marbles to hide and seek. There was a lot of open space to move around in, as there were fewer buildings, along with fewer students.
Part of this playground was not for students, however, and it was known as the horse paddock. It was important to generations of students and there are many stories associated with it.
For example: in the various ways children got to school in days gone by, horse back (along with shanks pony for town kids) was a main one, especially for farm kids. Stories are told that as the first riders set off from along the Tunnel Road, they gathered more as they got closer to town. Some of the children were very young, in primary school, and travelled with older siblings. The horses knew the routine.When they got to the end of Acacia Street, or Jubilee Avenue as it is now called, at Saltwater Creek bridge, they eyed the long straight run ahead, paused for the group to gather, and then took off, unprompted. They knew this was a race track. 
At times there were a couple of dozen horses in the school paddock, confined by a fence and a gate that sometimes did not close, at the western side of the paddock, along the creek. Children came on horseback from along the Main Arm Road, Tunnel Road, Mullumbimby Creek and Wilson's Creek Road. Bridles and saddles were kept in a shed and children had to be independent in organising themselves.
There are tales of recalcitrant horses, nervous riders, and ones that got away, not to mention the pranks that saw horses escaping from their paddock into the main playground.
Now, the horse paddock has been replaced by the need for a student car park.
Area serviced & school transport
Students in those early years were drawn from Mooball in the north to Nashua in the south & west to Huonbrook, taking pupils from the following schools:
Crabbes Creek
Middle Pocket
Upper Main Arm
Mullumbimby Primary
Mullumbimby Catholic
Mullumbimby SDA
Brunswick Heads
Byron Bay Primary
Byron Bay Catholic
Mullumbimby Creek
Bangalow Primary
Bangalow Catholic
Wilson's Creek










Mullumbimby Public SchoolAround 1920?
Photograph of pupils & teachers assembled outside building – People on bicycles, horses & sulky. There appears to be a hen & chicks (out of focus in left foreground), tall tree to the right of fenced building & a dog lying in front of horses to the right.

Until around 1968 many students travelled to school by train, from tiny often unmanned stations: Nashua, Binna Burra, Bangalow, Talofa, St Helena, Byron Bay, Quarry Siding, Tyagarah & Myocum. "Trainys" regularly strained the relationship between the school & NSW Railways, with the Stationmaster, visiting the Principal almost on a weekly basis to make the same complaints about damaged seats, broken mirrors, water bombs thrown about, and other passengers upset. The familiar refrain was ‘Would all those who travel by train remain behind after assembly'.
Then there were those unfortunate enough to miss the homeward bound train, or to be put off on the way home & it has been said that more than one student was seen heading off down the track walking. Rumour has it that one boy constantly handled and made approaches to the girls until the day of retribution arrived & the girls struck back. He arrived at Byron Bay – starkers – his clothes strewn over the Tyagarah Flats.
Perhaps the most unusual transport was from Mullumbimby Creek area, with pupils arriving via cream truck; and the taxi, and later the Bubble Bus, which ran a daily service from the Wilson's Creek meat pool site (corner of lower Wilson's Creek Rd & upper Huonbrook Rd) to bring students to school.
"A" Block, Mullumbimby Rural School 1924
"A" Block from left at right angle to Jubilee Avenue (Verandah posts on right still visible inside)
The woodwork room was an old wooden portable and is still in use today as the Blue Room (English and band practice). Room 14 near the river, known as the fifth years or seniors room was originally a one teacher school from Mullumbimby Creek. It is still standing today as the Hut.
The school was always short of accommodation. Many a class was held under the big camphor laurel or the pine tree, or even in the weather sheds.
Mullumbimby Rural School, 1924.
Class in progress (on site of old Administration Block – trees removed in 1963 for building of block.  Note teacher's residence through corridor at right of board & easel).
The toilets were a corrugated iron structure, pan system and designed for Infants & Primary pupils, even to the height of the seats and there were no doors on the cubicles.
Some will remember the waist long grass on the horse paddock (lower oval), with the ergot (a fungus rendering seed heads black & sticky) on the paspalum wrecking the clothes of teachers & students alike. Or the quadrangle (where the library now stands) flooding during heavy rain, and muddy walkways requiring surefootedness to prevent slipping over between classes.

Gardens on lower oval, Mullumbimby Rural School 1924
The Mullumbimby Rural School is where the High School is today
Notwithstanding the sometimes archaic appearance of buildings & the challenge of maintaining the school grounds in a subtropical climate, there was an indefinable quality about the school & the community which was sensed very quickly; a quality made up of hospitality, generosity, cooperation, solidarity, a sense of well being, happiness & courage. The setting was sylvan and beautiful.
Mullumbimby Rural School, 1924.
Class of 1924 being held in room which in 1994 was A4 (Mathematics Staff Room). Windows at back bricked up as seen from Admin. Block (1904 date above windows). Teacher & pupils unknown. The Mullumbimby Rural School is where the High School is today.
Mullumbimby Rural School, 1924.
Class of 1924 being held in room which in 1994 was A4 (Mathematics Staff Room).
Windows at back bricked up as seen from Admin. Block (1904 date above windows).
Teacher & pupils unknown. The School is where the High School is today.
Sewing graduates class of 1958

Sewing Class Graduates 1958

Abridged from histories by John Pearce (first Principal); David Marrinon (former school Agriculture teacher); and Jeff Beer (former student)

Principals of Mullumbimby High School

Eliza McGettigan
Jonathon McInnes
and the school became a full high school
Hugh Thompson
Henry Anstey
Frank Mathews
George Hutchinson
William Lowe
Henry Setchell
Leslie Johnson
John Algie
Arthur Caldwell
Maurice de Ferranti
Clifford Clayton
Stanley McGrath
Allan Stanfield
John Pearce
Neil Madsen
Charles Kerr
Derek Howland
Edmund Gaskell
Jim Willoughby
Greg Rogers
Ron White
Toni Hughes
2014 Ian Graham    
Donna Pearson



School Captains


Dugald Graydon
Helen Bashforth
Barry Blackman
Jan Davison
Stanley Thompson
Margaret Uren
George Sigley
Lynette Fenwick
Joseph Thompson
Pamela Dundas
Ian Vagg
Shirley Wheatley
Richard Thompson
Suzanna De Maar
Vincent Kean
Patricia Collins
Allen Thompson
Helen Joyce
Roger Uren
Sally Wrigglesworth
Ian Kennedy
Suzette Booth
Geoff Wakely
Elaine Soderholm
John Borrowdale
Heather McInnes
Michael Thompson
Wendy Rogers
J Bell
D Palmer
Kenneth Pratt
Judith Gooley
George Graham
Wendy Jones
Terry Timms
Dorothy Ludlow
David Webber
Fay Knight
Peter Schnierer
Wendy Boyd
Mark Wagland
Lynette Bender
David Thomas
Debora Bird
Tony Chand                
Robyn Basing
Steven MacDonald
Robyn Hammond
John Mitchell             
Sue Stoyanovski
Michael Beckers
Sonia Paron
Peter Kotroni
Tricia Jones
Glen Birmingham
Debbie Williams
Peter Tiernan
Katy Weterkamp
Raymond Musgrave
Justine Tiernan
Adam Waterson           
Natalie Weterkamp
Peter Alexander
Oren Siedler
Craig Johnson
Michelle Brown
Roger Clifford
Susan Gardiner
Mark Alexander           
Davida Stebbing
Peter Miller
Moi Vogel
Kristopher Liebke
Katrina Alidenes
Gregory Vadillo
Rebekah Britton
Geoffrey Francis           
Jessica Harriden
Gabriel Finardi
Roxana Chatfield
Leon Johnston
Kim Mallett
Brett Wiley
Lara Sayers
Aaron Blakey
Sasha Long
Eli Corben
Rebecca Baines
Stewart Grant
Lea Harrison
Thor Phillips
Joel Barnes
Jasmine Daniel-Coles
Keone Tikaram
Kristal Hargreaves
Adam Smith
Courttney Miller
Matthew Cam
Liza Dawn
Blair Aldrich
Jorge Correia-Lima
Kori Johnson              
Alistair Schaefer
Katie Andrew
Miro Halford
Erin Isaac
Leon Wark
Elyse Dennis
Adam Schaefer
Vanessa Hill
Jack Shaw
Angeline Daniels
Janny Gewin
Zoe Parsons
Thomas Herford
2012 Sienna Dillon Reuben Hague  
2013 Tayla Browning Max Foggon  
2014 Aquila Van Keuk Callum Stephen  
2015 Rochelle Arthur Kahn Duffey  
2016 Zahli Currie Paolo Newell  
2017 Ellie Svikis Zak Hosking  
2018 Annabelle Woods Oiver Arthur-Andrews  

Dux of Mullumbimby High School

1955 - Gwenyth Tandy
1956 - David Cornelius
1957 - Stanley Thompson
1958 - George Sigley
1959 - John Uren
1960 - John Von Sturmer
1961 - David Bowers
1962 - Timothy McKinnon
1963 - Ili Papajcsik
1964 - Sally Wrigglesworth
1965 - Charles Garrard
1966 - Daphne Cornelius
1967 - James Cavanagh
1968 - Mark Booth
1969 - Iven Reid
1970 - Dianne Johnston
1971 - Janice Riches
1972 - Malcom Parmenter
1973 - Peter Boorman
1974 - Trevor Foyster
1975 - Stephen James
1976 - Philip Clausen
1977 - Paul Faint
1978 - Graham Brown
1979 - Julia Clausen
1980 - Rhonda Brown
1981 - Peter Kotroni
1982 - Ian Bridgland
1983 - Susan Fleming
1984 - Petria Cornwell
1985 - Solveig Jankowski
1986 - Sharon Allen
1987 - Melanie Finn
1988 - Stuart Thompson
1989 - Miriam Kaberry - Laura Saperstein
1990 - Lisa Grant
1991 Katrina Alidenes
1992 - Andrew Beane
1993- David Allen
1994 - Sarah Nelson
1995 - Lhasa Morgan
1996 - Brett Wiley
1997 - Rebecca Butler
1998 - Beth Cookson
1999 - Daniel Kelly
2000 - Bianca Smith-Moir
2001 - Elizabeth Fuller
2002 - Ryan Faulkner
2003- Joel Clarke
2004 - Alexandra Connelley
2005 - Benita Chudleigh
2006 - Nyssa Lonergan
2007 - Adam Thomas
2008 - Adam Schaefer
2009 - Meisha Grant
2010 - Emily Riches
2011 - Luke Berrington
2012 - Jack Walsh
2013 - Maya Moses
2014 - Zachary Inglis
2015 - Aaron Wilson
2016 - Quinn Jones
2017 -  Lily Dun