Waterloo School’s 75th Anniversary

How Waterloo School celebrated the 75th Anniversary

The whole school met in the hall to start the celebrations. We were all dressed up in old fashioned clothes, even the teachers. Our Principal Mr Sullivan had on an old brown suit, a hat and had a thick leather strap. Principals long ago used to use them.

We were celebrating our school’s 75th Anniversary that means it is our school’s birthday, the 19th March 2013.

Stanley and Emma spoke – this is their speech.

Good morning and Welcome to the 75th birthday of Waterloo School.
Can you imagine sitting at home on Saturday the 19th March 1938? All your family have gathered together and you are all dressed in your best clothes.
You are all going along to celebrate the opening of a brand new school -the one you are going to attend.
How awesome! - A brand new school.
You are sitting on the field that once used to grow potatoes, and in front you can see the new school.
You hear some very official looking people talking. A lot of what they say you can’t remember, but you do remember the big gold key they gave to the principal and the yummy afternoon tea.
It was 1941 and the war had started. You had to carry a gas mask in your school bag and wear ID tags around your necks.
Trenches were built in the school ground and when the warning sirens blasted you had to jump into the trenches. It was awful because they were filled with water and dark. When the sirens finished you were allowed to go home.
It was so scary.
There was also a shortage of paper so you had to use blackboards.
You used to play games like marbles and a game called “ Tinnies” where they fill an old tobacco tin with stones or plastercine to weigh them down .
Then you would slide the tins across the concrete to hit your opponent's tin.
If you won you were given a weetbix card by the person who lost.
A swimming pool was opened where the small playground is now, for all the community to use in 1940s. You were able to use it at lunchtime. It was pretty cool. But it was demolished in 1999 because it cost too much to look after.
The Americans came to live in the Hutt Valley during the war and when the war ended they donated the school hall to the school from the army barracks that use to be at Hutt Park. They pulled the hall down, brought all the wood to Waterloo School and rebuilt it again.
This hall was used for dinner and dancing on a Saturday night.
Imagine that! – The music, the twirl of the dresses and the sound of the soldier’s boots.
In the 1960s you used to go to camp in Christchurch. You went down on the ferry called the “Maori” from Wellington to Christchurch, stayed two days and then came back again on the overnight ferry.
Queen Salote of Tonga came to visit and planted the tree behind Room 19 in our school.
You used to get free apples in the summer and free milk all year round.
One ex-student wrote this about the milk:
The milk had been at the school gate since before we arrived at school.
Even in the winter sun, the milk separated with a yellow creamy part of the milk rising to the top 2/3 of an inch of the bottle.
After the first break in the morning, it was the turn of the milk monitors to distribute the milk to each kid in the class.
I hated the often crusty and sourish taste of the yellow/creamy top of the milk.
To make it even worse, the teacher encouraged the milk monitors to place the milk bottles against the heaters. Sometimes the milk would go off.
Waterloo School has had some sad times as well.
In the late 1940’s there was a disease call polio that affected many of the students at the school.
Some students eventually died from this.
Also there was the day of the fire in 1984.
Lots of smoke and big flames shot up out of the office and the staff room. They say you could see the flames from the centre of Lower Hutt where Westfield Queensgate is now.
But it was not all sad.
We had some exciting times like when the circus came to town, and the elephant was kept in the big playground. Mrs McGregor remembers coming to school, driving down the road with an elephant coming towards her!
In 1998 a short film called “The Murder House” was made at Waterloo School. The film was about going to the dental clinic and a number of Waterloo students starred in this film.
This is available on line for you to look at today.
And in recent times the big army helicopter (Iroquois) paid the school a visit and landed in the field. That was pretty awesome, 75 years of memories.

While the speakers were talking children from the senior school brought 75 helium balloons up onto the stage, they looked awesome, held down with little rice bags and each representing a year from 1938 to 2013.

After the presentation finished we spent the morning rotating around the school experiencing different activities from the past.
Some of the activities were:

  • Marbles
  • Singing
  • Hopscotch
  • Sandsaucers
  • Jigsaws
  • Skipping
  • Indoor Bowls
  • Handwriting

During Labour Weekend Waterloo School officially celebrated its 75th Jubilee 1938 – 2013. Many former pupils and staff, including a number of foundation pupils attended. The weekend was a huge success with most children coming to school on Saturday! There were performances by both of our Kapahaka groups, Kapa Tuakana and Kapa Teina, the school band, and a number of items from the senior school production “Lanterns”. This was a three day event ending with balloons and the cutting of an enormous cake.

If you would like to know more you can purchase copies of our Waterloo School 75th Jubilee Book from the school office.

By Dantē Year 5

Long, long ago Waterloo School opened in 1938. It was one of the first new schools to open. It opened because in the ten years from 1930 to 1940 the population in Lower Hutt doubled from ten thousand to twenty thousand. The first Headmaster was Mr Olsen, he retired in 1945.
There was a massive fire in 1984, flames shot out of the office; you could see the fire from where Westfield Queensgate is now. The school office used to be only a single storey now its two storeys.

By Olivia Year 5