Miss Elizabeth Smith

Miss Smith

Photo: Bylong Valley - Centenary of Education 1884-1984

Miss Elizabeth Smith was appointed to Bylong Upper in June, 1924, where she taught for the next three years (1924-1927). In November, 1924 she had a nasty accident.

"On Friday, 21st November, I (with the assistance of parents with cars) took the Upper Division of my school to see the School Exhibition at Mudgee. Unfortun- ately on the return journey, while trying to negotiate a nasty gutter the car gave a jerk which threw the occupants off their seats, but am pleased to state that none of the children were hurt. I struck the framework of the hood very hard inflicting two nasty gashes, one on my forehead and one on my nose. I sent to the chemist in Rylstone to know if anything could be done and was told that the treatment I was giving was all that could be done viz, ice, warm water and Boracic Acid. He said the arteries in my forehead were broken and the bruised blood had rushed to my eyes for they were absolutely black and the lump on my forehead was very prominent

On seeing the state I was in the parents would not hear of me going to school before Wednesday last, but on seeing me again decided it would be useless for me to try to work while in the state I was in.

I returned to my duty yesterday, but at present am far from well as I am suffering a deal with my head. Although my eyes are becoming normal and the projection on my forehead is now showing a bruise, so I am hoping to be quite well again in a week or so.

"By the mid-1920's accommodation in the school room had become insufficient. Miss Smith wrote to the Department in 1925 informing them that she had 29 children enrolled but seating for only 24, moreover, there was a likelihood of more children attending in the near future. She also mentioned that during the Inspector's visit to the school he had raised the problem of the school not being any longer in a central position, and she hoped that something could be done about this matter at the same time as accommodation was being looked at. She added; 

"The people are in favour of its removal and the owner of the surrounding paddock is quite willing to exchange two acres in any dimensions anywhere between the gate and the Upper Bylong Hall, thus placing the school on the main road and giving the majority of the children a mile less walking" 

John Burke, one of the parents, backed up Miss Smith's facts, claiming that because temperatures were often between 95° to 105°F the children were working in overcrowded conditions that were unhealthy, especially as the 30 odd pupils had to be "crammed" into a schoolroom 19 by 17 feet. He, too, mentioned that parents wanted the school building moved to a new location opposite the hall and even added a sketch.

The Inspector of Schools agreed that the building needed enlarging to accommodate the present and expected enrolment and that the site was not as central as it could be, children having to cross a large paddock to reach the school, while bullocks that were in the paddock were an ever present source of danger.

The Minister for Education decided to move the school to the new site and accepted James Gettens' offer to exchange two acre blocks. 

The overall cost of the move and the extra accommodation was expected to be a little over £400. The actual move took place in September, 1927 and, during the period when the school building was unusable, classes were held in Bylong Upper Public Hall, which was hired at a rate of 7/6 per week. Before 1921, the school room, itself only as big as the average lounge room, had been frequently used for functions such as fund raising concerts or, as in 1919 a juvenile ball to celebrate "Peace Day" after World War I.

In 1927 a child from the house where Miss Smith boarded contracted Diptheria, and she (Miss Smith) was placed in quarantine and the school closed for ten days. Later the same year, Miss Smith resigned as she was planning to marry. 

 Ref: Bylong Valley - Centenary of Education 1884-1984

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