Looking Back: Tarraganda School

THE Bega Pioneers Museum has countless files on people and places. This history comes from its Tarraganda file and this week it continues the story of the Tarraganda School.

Early learning: This image shows Mr Richards with his Tarraganda School pupils in 1910. Picture: Bega Pioneers Museum

Early learning: This image shows Mr Richards with his Tarraganda School pupils in 1910. Picture: Bega Pioneers Museum

ON March 20, 1924, Davic Sirl wrote the following letter to the Bega District News, after having read a report of the opening of another Tarraganda School building:

HAVING about 46 years ago started the foundation of my still meagre education right on the same old spot, I was rather surprised that none of my old school associates were there to say a word re the old times.

At that time Tarraganda was worked as a half-time school in conjunction with Brogo. I well remember Mr Turnbull, the first teacher, to my mind a stern, bad-tempered man, a real kid-eater, but probably a sincere worker at his profession.

Next followed Mr Eggins, gentle and kind, a “come and play marbles” sort; never knew him to speak a cross word to a girl.

Then Mr Paul. “Now, David, hold out your hand,” and with a piece of sheepskin (tanned), 15 inches long by one broad, he tanned me.

Then followed a Mr Califf. “On with your work there, boys,” till playtime, then he played cricket with the boys and hopscotch with the girls, and thus made school life a pleasure.

Then last, but not least, Miss Jane Armstrong. Oh, what fun! A lady teacher! What larks we bigger boys will have. But boys propose, school teachers dispose.

Poor old Kilian Koellner, now gone, supplied quince rods from the river bank, and my last day at Tarraganda School will never be forgotten. On refusing to hold out my hand I got elsewhere what Miss Jane Armstrong and one of Kilian's quince rods could give.

And our school mates! Where are they now? The Koellners, Rogers, Goetzs, Gees, Spindlers, Walla, Munros, McDonalds from Elmgrove, Wheatleys, and others I have forgotten.

Scattered across the face of the globe, but most still living to read of the opening of the third school building on the same old spot.

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The earliest reference to a public school at Tarraganda is of this half-time school to which Robert Turnbull was appointed teacher in February 1872. It was then spelt as “Tarragandah”, and his other half-school was at Stoney Creek, so it was some distance he has to travel between the two schools.