Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Those Places Thursday - Burra Model School, South Australia

Burra State School
Who would think such an impressive building would have been build in a small mining community in the colonial outpost of South Australia.

This school was completed in 1877 which,  coincidentally was the year that the Burra Copper Mine was closed down.  The land on which the school was build was donated by the South Australian Mining Association.  When the School opened in 1878,  300 students were enrolled.  Among these students were my grandfather Roy Herbert (1909-1959) along with his brothers and sisters (Alice, William, Annie, Essel , Jack and Lillian). 

 It was his half-sister Annie Whitehorn (nee Herbert) who gave me the attached picture of the School about twenty five years ago.  She remembered her school days with fondness and recalled that this building was something that the whole Burra community took great pride in. She did tell me that my grandfather was not so fond of school life and  liked to skip school.  She would be sent out to find him and inevitably he would be found swimming in the local swimming spot.

The school was built to accommodate 800-1000 students and it wasn’t until 1913 when the High School was opened in the western wing that its class rooms were filled.  It certainly was an impressive building for a small colonial town in the late 1870’s.

Burra, was a mining town in South Australia about 160 km north of Adelaide. The town was founded in 1845 and was one of the world’s largest copper mines.  The income from this mine was one of the major contributors in the economic survival of the young colony of South Australia. 

The mine was closed in 1877 and the town continued to thrive as growing rural community and served as a transport centre for the north east of South Australia and through to Western New South Wales and Queensland.  Today, Burra is still an important rural centre for farming wheat and breeding sheep.

Due to its rich and colourful history it has become a popular destination for tourists who are visiting South Australia.

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