Picture of Captains Flat

Picture of the Lake George Mine Entrance at Captains Flat

Home  |  About 'The Flat'  |  News  |  Diary  |  Attractions  |  Heritage Trail  |  Tourist Info  |  Location  |  Links Community Association  |  Gallery  |  Contact Us 

Captains Flat Tour - Public School

"In our room there sits a crew,
Among us brains are very few;
The marks don't soar so very high-
We just can't find the reason why.

But all are same we're a friendly mob,
But lazy, useless and not worth two bob."

Student Poem
Captains Flat Central School 1959

First Boom
Town Boom
Middle Years
On Again
Mining Life
The Mine
All Quiet
Then and Now
Public School

Captain's Flat did not get a permanent school until 1886. Until then, school was carried out on a house-to-house basis. But the size of the mining operations meant that a school was warranted. Mr. John Filshie was appointed as teacher and he taught in rented premises for two years. A permanent school building was approved and built in 1889 for the princely sum of 596. However due to an increase in enrolments to 126, another teacher was appointed and a new classroom and shed built.

Mr. Filshie and Miss Deer were replaced by Mr. Keys and Miss Walsh, however they were not happy with their appointments and repeatedly applied for transfers. Further extensions to the school began in 1897 after copper became the prime mineral mined at Captain's Flat. Enrolments increased as the population grew. The original building was divided into three classrooms.

When the mines closed in 1899, enrolments dropped dramatically from 200 to a mere 34, however the nearby Silver Hills School was closed and students brought to Captain's Flat by the mailman which maintained numbers at a reasonable level. The school remained active until 1927 when a diptheria epidemic swept through, resulting in the closure of the school for awhile. The teacher at the time lost a son to the disease. Enrolments increased again in the late 1930's with the reopening of the mines. Student numbers rose to 149 and Mr. Alfred Wood was appointed Headmaster in 1938. A number of portable classrooms were added and a headmaster's residence was built some time later. By 1959 student numbers were at an all-time high with 12 teachers on staff, catering for all levels up to fourth year secondary classes. The town made scholarships available for students who wished to continue to fifth level secondary at other schools.

However the final closure of the mines caused another dramatic downturn in student numbers, just as it had in 1899. In 1971 and 1976, moves to close the secondary section were successfully opposed by teachers and local support for the school by residents was high. By 1979 however, secondary enrolments had dropped to just 16 and the secondary section of the school could no longer remain open. In 1980, students left each day for Queanbeyan schools on buses.

The school was granted another teacher after public outcry when schools in the then state Premier's electorate were granted extra staffing and Captain's Flat was not. Children were kept at home in protest and the issue became a state-wide controversy which fuelled public passions at the time. Captain's Flat's battle with the state bureaucracy paid off with 87 schools receiving extra staff.

Today, Captain's Flat Public School boasts some 60 students ranging from kindergarten level to sixth grade and is staffed by four permanent teachers and support staff. The original building from 1887 is still in use, being home to the school library.

The old school crest

The school in 1940. It is the building surrounded by pine trees centre right of the picture

Miss J. Dyer - School Captain 1960

Class of '61. Secondary school classes were dropped in 1979 with students having to travel to Queanbeyan by bus each day

Primary School children marching on Anzac Day 1995

Content 2006 Gregory S. Davies
Content: 2006 Captains Flat Community Association
Site: www.captainsflat.org