Hundreds celebrate Cordalba School anniversary

Cordalba State School 125 year celebrations
Cutting the anniversary cake at Cordalba State School 125 year celebrations are (from left) Owen Barnard, Col Coomber, Barry Dittman and Gordon Hebbard.

Hundreds of people turned out today to celebrate the 125th anniversary of Cordalba State School.

Principal Matt Parsons said the size of the crowd, which good judges placed at upwards of 500, had surpassed even his wildest expectations.

“We have worked hard for the past eight months with staff and students all having a role to play,” he said.

“I would like to congratulate a very valuable staff member in Alison Leeson who has had a hand in everything including organising content for the updated history book.”

Cordalba State School 125th anniversary
Alison Leeson proudly shows the latest addition to the Cordalba State School's history collection, “Cordalba State School, the last 25 years”. Angie Ebert displays an anniversary tea towel.

Speaking at the official welcome and anniversary cake cutting, Deputy Mayor Bill Trevor said the turnout and support for the event was indicative of the value people placed on their time at the school as students.

“It also represents just how important schools like Cordalba are to the very fabric of local communities,” he said.

The oldest former student in attendance was Col Coomber who attended the school in 1936.

Mr Coomber was joined by other “old boys” Barry Dittman, Owen Barnard and Gordon Hebbard to cut the anniversary cake.

Cordalba State School school bell
Former student Bruce Grummitt with the original Cordalba State School school bell. The bell was manufactured in the USA by the CS Bell Co.

Opportunities to tour the classrooms were supported by market stalls and a yesteryear machinery display.

A merry-go-round did a roaring traded in catering to the youngsters in attendance.

Garth Brand who went to the school in the early 50s was one of many people who had a story to tell about his schooldays.

“I had the dubious honour at the time of being the first student to receive punishment from the new headmaster Mr Shelton,” said Garth.

He explained that the school had just taken delivery of a flash new weather vane complete with metal rooster with a very fancy tail.

“Mr Shelton gave specific instructions that we were to go down to the sports field and well away from this prized new addition to the school if we were playing sport,” he said.

“Of course I’ve come out at lunch time and started kicking a football around. Sure enough a misguided kick struck the new weather vane bringing it to the ground and in the process breaking off the tail of the rooster.

“Punishment from Mr Shelton was swift with several cuts of his cane. I can laugh about it now but it was a very serious business when you are a small kid at school.”

Cordalba State School 125th anniversary
Cordalba State School principal Matt Parsons shares a slice of the anniversary cake with Trish Hoffman.

Well-known former official with Bundaberg Amateur Athletics Club (now Little Athletics) and prominent athletic coach Bruce Grummitt was also a former student at Cordalba.

“I attended in the 40s and I have great memories of the school and the Cordalba area where we lived,” he said.

“I particularly liked the old school bell which is still here today. It’s great to see items like this remain even though the school buildings have had incredibe expansion.”

The anniversary celebrations included musical items from the students and the placement of a 25-year time capsule.

Mr Parsons, who has been principal at Cordalba for 17 years, said the time capsule, like the updated history book, covered the past 25 years at the school.

“There is already a time capsule buried in the school grounds which was undertaken in 1994 to mark the school’s centenary.

“That capsule and this second one will be opened in 2044, the school’s 150th anniversary.”