The isolated Bobeyan Valley, in the southern part of the Namadgi National Park, in the southern border area of the Australian Capital Territory, was first settled by Europeans in the 1830s. Even today the area is fairly isolated, being bypassed by the main highway and some 50kms from Tharwa village and 90kms from central Canberra to the North and 30 kilometres from the small township of Adaminaby to the south.
The early settlers here were pastoralists and farmers. Through necessity the families in the valley, as in any other rural area, had to be self sufficient and looked to each other for support and companionship.
While children were expected to work on their family farms, by the beginning of the 20th century elementary schooling was considered necessary. There were, however few children in the area and no schools within walking distance. Rural farmers didn’t have the means to build schools and hire teachers.
In 1903 the Government introduced the concept of ‘subsidised schools’. This entailed the Government providing classroom materials and a subsidy per student towards a teacher. Parents had to come up with a building and furniture, find a teacher and board that teacher for free.
Tin Dish school was one such school established under this programme. It was set up in 1906 at the behest of four local families – the Brayshaws, Westermans, Dwyers and the Chalkers. Brayshaw’s Hut and Westerman’s Homestead can still be seen if you walk along the Settlers Track – In fact, Brayshaw’s Hut is visible across the road from the school, 300 metres walk.
The school was initially located in Brayshaw’s Hut before a small single slab room constructed from weatherboards and iron was built across the road in 1907. The teacher, William Gottaas initially lived with the Westermans before being given bed and board by the Brayshaws. The school only operated until 1910, providing elementary education to seven children from the four families.
Today only a few stones from the fireplace and the four corner-posts from the building exist to remind us that a tiny bush school once existed here.
I am not going to suggest that you drive 90kms from Canberra to see a few stones, but do recommend that if you come here to walk the Settlers Track (which starts about 100 metres from the school on the other side of the road) you pop across the road for a look. When I visited the direction sign for the school (picture 3) had been knocked over but the school ruins is literally straight across the road from the car park though a bit of scrub.
Address: Bobeyan Road
Directions: Across the road from the well marked Settlers Track / Brayshaw’s Hut walk car park
This blog entry is one of a group (loop) of entries on Namadgi National Park. To continue with my next entry chick HERE.