On July 8th 1913, just months after Australia started building a new federal capital in Canberra, a petition was sent to the Honourable Minister for Education to have a school opened on Reserve no. 11421 (Washpool Reserve). The petition was signed by 5 parents and included the names of 14. In a reply dated 27th October 1913, the town of Calingiri was told, “We regret to inform you a school cannot be established there at present.”
Not content with the answer, a number of further letters were sent to the Minister for Education.
March 9th 1914. “I beg the liberty to ask you if there is any possibility of a school being built at “Tora”. I beg to inform you there are 11 children all over the age of 5 years and under 14 years within a 3 mile radius.”
June 15th 1914 by John O’Dea to minister of Education asking if “we have any possible hope of ever getting a school erected in our locality?”
22nd June 1914 Secretary of Calingiri Progress Association Mr Ben B Clarke wrote to the Minister of Education asking “what can be done in the district about a school at Calingiri?” The town site is about to be surveyed so I thought that your department would be making provisions for a school”.
Just one month before events in Austria would trigger the start of World War I, the town received a reply from the Minister, on the 24th of June 1914, informing them that, “as a result of a visit of my District Inspector it has been decided that it will be impossible at present to establish a school at Washpool reserve.”
And so, the problem remained for a few more months as attention was on the escalating war in Europe. Until, on October 11th, just 2 days after the town of Antwerp in Belgium fell to the Germans, a memo from the Director informed people that, “a site has been selected for a school in Calingiri. The site selected is marked by 2 blazed trees. An old portable school room at Pithara will be available for removal to Calingiri site.”
Unfortunately, it would be almost two years to the day until there was any progress of a school. On October 27th 1916, a tender was received to remove/replace the building at Pithara for a cost of 145 pounds, to be relocated to Calingiri. Furniture for the school came from Burran Rock School.
With removal and work completed, builders were ready to hand over the school to the Department of Education on 21st June 1917. The keys were handed to Mrs Clarke, storekeeper, opposite the school.
On August 1st 1917, Calingiri School was opened by Miss Vera White, headmistress, with an enrolment of 12. The school site comprised of 5½ acres and was declared ‘Reserve 16954’.
Students numbers increased slowly, and on November 18th 1925 approval was given for the erect ion of a new school at Calingiri. Work was completed on the new school on March 24th 1926, and attendance was a record 26 students.
A Parents & Citizens association was formed on December 3rd 1930, and with 33 students attending the school, plans were formed to increase the facilities at the site the following year.
In June 1931, the School Report showed that the premises “have 2 excellent tennis courts with wire fencing, 2 swings, paths and a gate. New garden plots have been dug.”
In 1933, requests for a Shelter Shed were made to the Education Department. Also, a request for the Department to supply enough plain wire to fence in the school ground to keep stray stock away from the horses the children ride and drive to school.
27/9/1940—with the inception of the bus service from Corondeen and Wyening to this school the enrolment is now 51. The room is 30ft X 20ft with a veranda 20ft X 9ft. The veranda is enclosed for half its length. The enclosed portion is fitted as a cloak-room. Parents request that the Corondeen school building be moved here.
28/11/1040—School report--Enrolment increased to 53 in Sept when Corondeen School closed.
24/3/1941—A letter from the P&C Ass. Making an application for an extra room to be added to the school. A petition with 39 signatures was also forwarded to Dept. requesting an extra room for the school as some children are being taught in the supper room of the Road Board Hall at a cost of 10 shillings a week to the school.
26/2/1943—another request for an extra room to be added to this school was sent in. Enrolment of 48 children. Further request to have a shelter shed built because on wet days we have 48 children crowded on the small veranda (20ftx8ft)
29/11/1944—another request from the C.W.A. Ass. that the Dept. build another school room.
17/1/1945—an extract from a letter sent to Mr H.T berry M.L.A. Parliament House. “We are endeavouring to obtain an additional school bus for Calingiri. At present some children have to travel 7 miles by sulky and we maintain this is too far! We need a blue print of the district as this is required to map he proposed additional route for submission to the Dept.”
5/4/1945—Approval has been obtained for the provision of the following at your school;
1.New classroom, including veranda, jobbing etc.
2. New latrines (2 seats each sex)
4. Tanks (2x1000gallons)
5. Complete lining of existing room
6/2/1946—letter informing Dept. that classes were held in the Local Hall on the 4th & 5th Feb. as the new room was not available. Classes used the new room on the 6th Feb. Another letter requesting a Shelter Shed at the school was written on the 2nd Nov. 1946 by the secretary of the P&C.
18/8/1947—Proposed Shelter Shed-approval was granted for the erection of Shelter Shed with seating for 50 people at a cost of 210 pounds. April 1948—Shelter shed still not built.
1952—Calingiri sported 2 sports teams for the Inter School sports against Piawanning, Yerecoin and Bolgart. Calingiri North Bus team came 1st and South Bus coming a close 2nd.
1954—Inter school sports—Calingiri North bus won, south bus runner up.
October 1955—Calingiri competing as 1 school instead of 2 buses. Calingiri won the day.
4/11/1955—School held a Visitors Day. Children put on a concert, dramatics and folk dancing. Grades V-Vll served afternoon tea
8/5/1959—Enrolment—83 children= 3 classes. Masonic Hall supper room brought into use as a class room.
1959—P&C cleared & graded the football oval over the last 3 years. They installed at a cost of 50 pounds, felt topped concrete cricket pitch. Sporting equipment & voluntary coaching of sporting teams by local citizens.
1960—Interschool sports held at Calingiri—Calingiri won the “Milner Trophy”
7/11/1960—free milk scheme commenced today and will operate 3 times a week. Report dated 27/7/1960 from Horner, District Supervisor, “there is insufficient certainty of growth in enrolments to justify the erection of a 3rd classroom. In the meantime the overflow class is very comfortably accommodated in the Masonic Hall.”
8/2/1960—Enrolment—78 children-- April 1960 a new flagpole was erected by the P&C Ass. Busy bee.
13/4/1961—at a special P&C meeting tonight it was resolved not to support the Road Board in their endeavour to have the new class room built on a new site.
18/8/1961—Builders arrived to commence additions comprising of a new class room, office and store room. Enrolment in 1960 fluctuated between 72-84. In 1961 they have been maintained at 91-93. 20 new admissions are expected in 1962; total enrolment of 105 is likely.
29/9/1961—First annual Faction Sports held on the show grounds today. Red faction won from Blue & Gold. A faction cup has been presented to the school by Mr B Fitzgerald.
23/10/1961—Grades V1-X moved into the new class room this morning and grades 111-V1 vacated the Lodge building.
20/12/1963—Telephone advise from Dr. Curris that a bus service is to begin 1964 for the transport of past primary school children to Wongan Hill Junior High.
10/2/1964—Plans for the bus to Wongan Hills High has been cancelled.
12/2/1964—Discussion by P&C to the Minister re; Wongan bus. It was decided to call tenders for a contract service to commence in approx. 5 weeks. In the meantime Mr Wilf Jones will run a service in his car.
14/2/1964—received official advice the bus service is to commence next Monday.
18/2/1966—Enrolment—88 children—swimming lessons at Wongan with 52 children participating.
31/10/1969—Final layer of bitumen laid at school.
8/2/1971—enrolment—70 children—Staff has been reduced to 2 teachers.
4/5/1971—the town was switched onto SEC power at 2.05pm.
17/2/1972—enrolment--71 children—grades 1, 2, 3+4=40 children/grades 5, 6+7=31 children. These enrolments look stable so I obtained permission to take on a 3/5 time teacher.
20/3/1972—Mrs Burrows finished duties, grade 4 accommodated Senior Room.
21/3/1973—a bus carrying 32 children from grade 4-7 on its way to swimming lessons caught fire today. The driver Mr Leon Opie evacuated the children but could not extinguish the flames once he lifted the bonnet. Children were conveyed to Wongan by the High School bus.
28/10/1974—Daylight saving was introduced today and the following times (approved by the Department) were implemented. Commence school at 9.25am---close 3.45pm
1/11/1976—P.W.D.supervisor visited school today and indicated the new office would commence within the next 2 weeks.
28/4/1980—Pre-Primary officially part of the school system. Pre-primary classes are being held in the Football pavilion.
7/2/1983—Pre-Primary transportable classroom arrived on Calingiri school site.
22/4/1983—Governor of WA. The Rear Admiral. Sir Richard Trawbridge and official party welcomed at Calingiri School.
5/5/1983—Pre-Primary building opened by Mr Bert Crane MLA.