Mortlake Dispatch
School community looks back on 150-year history

FORMER students, teachers and Woorndoo community members reunited for a final hurrah for the Woorndoo State School while looking back on its 150-year history last weekend.

Woorndoo School Reserve Committee of Management president Ann Vinen said more than 50 former students, teachers and other school community members came together last Sunday to reminisce.

“There were a lot of little cliques,” she said.

“It was lovely to watch.”

The day started off with a visit to the school building, with attendees then moving to the Woorndoo Hall for coffee and tea and a chat.

The celebrations also included the planting of a pacific blue tree and a banksia.

Ms Vinen said despite the success of the celebrations, the committee would now dissolve due to insufficient funding, with the building to be handed over to the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP).

“We just hope it’s not left to rot,” she said.

The committee had planned to reopen the school as a history centre, but repair and maintenance costs proved too high to be sustainable.

Ms Vinen said it was a bittersweet end to the town’s connection to the school.

“We wanted to go out on a bang,” she said.

Former teacher and current Mortlake P-12 College assistant principal Anne De Manser and former teachers Ron Eckhardt and Trevor White were among the guests during the day.

Mrs De Manser taught at the school throughout 1981 and 1982 and said she enjoyed reuniting with former teachers and students and seeing the old building once again.

“The school has been kept in magnificent condition and the committee deserves huge praise for the way it’s been maintained,” she said.

“I’m devastated to think it may be demolished or relocated because it is a unique slice of history and a rare, authentic glimpse into the past.

“It would make a wonderful local museum.”