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Old Bar Public School

Old Bar Public School

Endeavour and Achieve

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Old Bar History

Margaret Watts taught at Old Bar School in 1950-51. Margaret is now an author.

The following photos and information tell us  about Old Bar as she remembers it in 1950.


The Pavilion

Old Bar Public School Pavilion

This is the Pavilion, an old building like a huge shed, that served as a shop. It had trestle tables inside where morning and afternoon tea and meals were served. It was located close to the beach. Mr and Mrs Grant who owned the building, lived inrooms above. Their daughter Effie and her husband were often there to help. I was fortunate that the Grants had agreed to take the new teacher as there was no other board available. They were kind people.

The cross on the upstairs window shows my room which was accessed by a narrow wooden stairway. The toilets and bathroom were separate. One had ato rug up for the journey outside across open ground, to take a bath in winter. Mr Grant ensured that kindling was supplied in the bathroom for the chip heater used to heat bath water. One didn't have to wait too long for warm water and the heater also warmed the bathroom.

There were cabins at the back of the Pavilion which the Grants rented out to holiday makers. They had fuel stoves for cooking.

There was a public hall beside the pavilion where we staged school concerts.


Old Bar Airfield

Black and white photo of a woman standing next to a biplane

There was also an airfield near the Pavilion . Quite a few bi-planes (Tiger Moths, I think) refuelled at Old Bar airfield during the flood of 1950's . One of the highlights of my days there was a flight in one of the small planes. However after seeing the ground rush up at me when the pilot decided to impress me with a loop the loop, I lost some of my enthusiasm for flying, a feeling reinforced when the pilot admitted that it had been " a near thing".

Opening the Bar

Nineteen fifty was the year of big floods. All the islands in the Manning River were flooded as was Taree. Th e flooding was so bad, it was decided to open the bar at the mouth of the Manning River at Old Bar.

The beach was covered with creamy foam so deep it covered my knees as I and other women carried tea from the Pavilion, along the beach front to the men who were digging a channel( with shovels) across the sandbar. I remember feeling worried about what nasties might be lurking unseen in the foam. I think a bull dozer may have eventually been sent out to aid the men. In any case there was great jubilation when the river water began to flow out to sea and the flooding of Taree and the Manning islands began to abate.

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