Parkfield State School Commemorative Plaque 1869

Parkfield State School Commemorative Plaque 1869
Opening in 1869, Parkfield State School was one of the earliest schools in Western Australia.

The first school was an unlined slab hut with a shingled roof, a smoking chimney, and a floor that flooded in winter. It opened and closed over the years, dependent on teacher availability and pupil numbers.

In the days before education was compulsory in 1871, Mr and Mrs Robert Henry Rose of Parkfield Farm, like many other parents, were desperate for their children to be educated.

There was a general shortage of suitably qualified people in the Colony seeking employment as teachers, so it forced administrators to employ educated ex-convicts, as a way of overcoming the shortage.

In 1869, George Newby Wardell offered his services as a teacher. Wardell was a ticket-of-leave man who was employed at Springhill Farm, the neighbouring property. A solicitor, Wardell, was convicted at the Old Bailey Courthouse in 1862 of Forging and uttering and sentenced to seven years of penal servitude in WA.

Pupils include the Rose children, children of their employees, and often their neighbours such as the Clifton’s of Rosamel Farm and the Reading family of Runnymeade Farm.

Anglican Ministers in Bunbury would come to Parkfield Farm once a month to give services at the schoolhouse, while on other Sundays, Mr. Rose always conducted the Evening Service in the main house dining room.

Schools were supervised by an inspector and controlled by a local School Board. At Christmas, they gave the children two weeks’ holiday, with one week at Easter, a week in the middle of winter, and another in September.

In later years, they moved the school building closer to what is now, South Western Highway.

School certificate awarded to Loftus Clifton in 1893. Courtesy of the Bunbury Historical Society.

In 1939, with no prospect of further use, the School building was sold and removed.

Parkfield State School Commemorative Plaque

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