Sign of the times for pioneer schoolhouse

AS Belconnen’s Weetangera School celebrated its 40th birthday today, a small signpost was installed as a reminder that it is not the first school to use the name.

Simon Corbell

Simon Corbell

The original Weetangera School pre-dates Canberra itself, having opened in 1875 with 27 students, according to speech made by Minister for the Environment and Sustainable Development Simon Corbell at the 40th anniversary of the newer Weetangera School today.

The older schoolhouse was open for 62 years until enrolments dropped to just eight students, and children from the area had to attend Ainslie Primary School instead.

The new signpost is part of the Belconnen self-drive heritage trail, Mr Corbell said, which “recounts the thriving farming community the school served in its early days”.

The installation of the new signpost was jointly organised by the Weetangera School P&C and ACT Heritage as part of today’s celebration, which also involved representatives of the Shumack, Southwell, Tully, Kilby and Cameron families, which Mr Corbell described as “pioneer families of Weetangera”.

The ceremony also included tree-planting and a speech by Margaret Clough, who received an ACT Heritage Grant in 2002 for her book ‘Spilt Milk’, a history of Weetangera School.

“Today she spoke about the school environment of days gone by, and brought to life an age where the slate was used instead of interactive smart boards,” said Mr Corbell.

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