Millers Flat School

Millers Flat School

Going to the school everyday in our region was dependent on the weather and the Clutha River. If there was rain and snow it would make the road tracks impossible to cross and if the river was too high the punt would not be able to get across. This problem caused William Waugh to write a letter to the Otago Education Board in 1884 saying that there needed to be another school on the east side of the river at Millers Flat. There was a section saved for the project, and after lots of unsuccessful attempts to get it going, an inspector finally came to give the heads up for the project to begin.

The opening took place on June 7th 1886. Mr Ewen Pilling was the master and a roll of almost 40 children.

There was an assistant Miss Dora Laurence at the beginning. The roll increased through the years due to the successful dredging period when 75 pupils came. In 1924 it increased to almost 180 students with the construction of the railway through Roxburgh. At the 50th jubilee it was said that it was a three roomed school with 92 pupils and three teachers. A few years after, the money from the jubilee was spent on the new entrance gates at the front, and a special arrangement was made for the opening. During the 1930s a new system was introduced, new discipline laws and teaching methods were instituted, and better designed school buildings and new equipment became regulation. After the 75th jubilee the roll increased once again and four teachers were appointed. There were talks about building a new school as the old one was needing too much money to run. The roll dropped when the railway was taken out but still a new school and schoolhouse were built in 1968. Also in the 1960s it was established that a new dental clinic be built and a new modern one was put there from the Roxburgh Hydro School in 1977.

In 2009 Millers Flat School has currently got 38 students with two working classes from year 1-8. It has strong community support and a hard working PTA that supports the school. We have refurbished our technology suite and now have two interactive white boards with 8 apple i-mac computers, 6 laptops available to the students and a new video-editing suite. Life at school has changed very much. Dress is casual and not as formal.

However many things have remained in our school, one being a strong sense of community. This is always most apparent when work needs to be completed, there is still the traditional working bee and bbq. We are very proud of our school, proud of its beginnings and origins and proud of its present. Pupils of Millers Flat may go anywhere in the world but will always have a sense of belonging and home that comes from being a part of something really special.

Millers Flat School was an easy project for even though I have not been here as long, I used some of my personal knowledge, and used the Millers Flat School Centennial book and the Teviot Tapestry book, and the help of Deborah Reid.

By Jessica