Barkers Vale Public School

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Barkers Vale School was officially opened in 1933, on a block of land in Williams Road just to the north of Barnes Road.
The land was donated by William Clyde Salkeld, one of the original settlers in Barkers Vale. However, the Department of Education at the time decided that to accept land was unconstitutional, and so they paid him a rent of 1 pound per year.

Prior to the school opening on this site, children from the area were either sent to the school at Lillian Rock or were taught in a private school established in the barn of Mr. & Mrs. Charley Snow, who had a property along Creegans Road. The school building itself had already done service as Doon Doon School, and was dismantled and trucked to the Williams Road site via Nimbin, Cawongla and then along the old road that followed the creek.


Over the years, there have been many schools scattered throughout the valley. There have been three at Cawongla, two at Wadeville, two at Barkers Vale and four at Lillian Rock. Today, only Barkers Vale Public School and Rainbow Ridge Steiner School remain, although the old Cawongla School, which closed in 1975, has been a Community Pre-school since 1976, with its 'students' graduating either up the road to Barkers Vale or down the road to Larnook Public School.

When the Second World War arrived, a number a men and women did what their parents had done 25 years previously and joined the services. Some never returned and in 1947 both Barkers Vale residents and Lillian Rock residents erected memorials at their respective schools and Anzac Day was commemorated at each school on alternating years.







The student numbers have fluctuated over the years, and at times the school came very close to closing, with numbers getting perilously close both in the early 50's and again at the the end of the 60's. However, an influx of fresh settlers in the early 1970's had the numbers up again until by the middle 90's it was just over 100 pupils with 5 teachers. This rapid growth from a dozen to a century in about 20 years put a considerable strain on the facilities until, in 1991, after many years in demountables, the department built two large new classrooms. As David O'Meara, the principal at the time said, "Oh what a joy! At last, after so many years of waiting - two beautiful new classrooms and toilets. 1991 will give a new permanency to Barkers Vale School"


In 1996, the Department of Education was presented with the opportunity to purchase the land and buildings of the Daystar Steiner School, which had just closed. This school was up on the ridge at Lillian Rock and a move was seen by the department as an opportunity to get Barkers Vale School away from its flood-prone site next to a disused dip yard which had been causing some environmental concerns among both parents and staff. Plus the new site was on the main Kyogle - Murwillumbah road, making access no longer a problem. And so in 1997, Barkers Vale School picked up its books (they took the entire library building) and its War Memorial and moved up out of the vale to its present site. And so, after more than 100 years of education in the valley, (the first Cawongla School opened in 1892 and was called Hanging Rock Wharf School), we have Barkers Vale School sitting on the ridge mid-way between Lillian Rock and Wadeville.

This history was researched and compiled by Di Tissot who put a great deal of time, thought and effort into all her work at Barkers Vale Public School... Thanks Di, you rock!

If you liked this page and have some more history you would like to see added, feel free to contact us via the BVPS contact details and share what you know.