Ellison Public School

We Care

Telephone02 4751 5099


School History

In anticipation of continued population growth in the Springwood area, the Department of Education had the foresight to begin purchasing and setting aside land for potential future school sites in North Springwood well in advance of actual need. Thus, four blocks of land in the subdivision between Paterson and Ellison Roads were acquired by the Department of Education between 1963 and 1968. These blocks of land were a portion of one of the forty acre parcels of land acquired by John Thomas Ellison between 1872 and 1880, sold by him in 1882 and subsequently acquired, subdivided and re-sold by John Francis King as the Ellison Estate.

With the continued development of the Springwood and Winmalee areas during the 1970's and early 1980's, student enrolments at both Springwood and Winmalee Public Schools continued to rise and by 1985 it was clear that more classroom accommodation was needed. The decision at this time to build a new public school at Ellison Road was somewhat controversial, strong arguments having been put forward for further expansion and redevelopment of the Springwood Public School. Nevertheless, a public meeting was held at Springwood Public School on 9th July 1985, presided over by Messrs Burton and Gregory from the Department of Education, in order to discuss the proposed new school and to gauge the reactions of parents of children in the school's expected drawing area. Apart from issues of road safety in the vicinity of the proposed school, which were aired at this public meeting, the Department of Education agreed to conduct a more extensive survey of parents and children in the proposed catchment area in order to assess more accurately public acceptance of the proposal.

Recognizing the Department of Education's commitment to open the new school in 1986, a steering committee was formed at a subsequent public meeting held on 6th August, 1985, to prepare the groundwork for an inaugural Parents and Citizens Association. This steering committee (comprised of Mrs Bronwyn Barrett, Mrs Robyn Cook, Mrs Narelle Halse, Mrs Alison Mortenson, Mr Ian Rogan and Mrs Lyn Whybrow) were also charged with the task of following up problems and issues voiced by concerned parents at the previous public meeting.

The steering committee initiated discussions with various bodies and organized public support on a range of issues including:

  • the provision for a pedestrian crossing on Hawkesbury Road;
  • the widening of the intersection at Hawkesbury and Ellison Roads;
  • the installation of kerbing, guttering and footpaving along Ellison Road in the vicinity of the school;
  • the development of suitable access to the school;
  • the negotiation of bus routes to and from the school;
  • the seeking of tenders for supplying the school canteen.

In addition, the steering committee approached the Department of Education with a request to change the name of the school from Ellison Road Public School to Ellison Public School. With little time remaining before the scheduled introduction of the school the committee also arranged for school uniforms to be designed and presented for public approval. A draft constitution was prepared for the inaugural Parents and Citizens Association and the school canteen was registered in advance with the Department of Finance.

By December of 1985 construction of the new Ellison Public School was well under way. However, it was not expected that the school would be ready for occupation until well into the new year. Arrangements had been made for the new school to commence operations in temporary accommodation located at Winmalee Public School, thus allowing construction at the Ellison School site to continue uninterrupted.

Meanwhile, in February 1986 the Blue Mountains City Council advised the Ellison School steering committee that the Ellison/Hawkesbury Road intersection would be upgraded and that Ellison Road would be widened, kerbed and guttered and provided with footpaths to the entrance of the school. The Local Traffic Authority also advised that a pedestrian crossing controlled by traffic lights would also be installed for the safety of children having to cross Hawkesbury Road to reach the school.

In March 1986, the role of the school's steering committee was assumed by the Ellison Public School Parents and Citizens Association following the latter's inaugural meeting. The steering committee had worked hard over a period of eight months and had successfully managed to achieve most of the objectives it had set itself to ensure a smooth and trouble free transition of the school body into its soon to be completed new home. The new P&C Association elected its first management committee which comprised:

President - Mr S Foote
Secretary - Mrs R Cook
Treasurer - Mrs R Wiseman
Vice President (Canteen) - Mrs N Halse
Vice President (Fundraising) - Mr W Spence
Uniform Officer - Mrs N Annabel
Maintenance Officer - Mr J Browning

The First Year, 1986

Ellison Public School received its first complement of pupils in February 1986 under the supervising care of its foundation principal, Mrs Diana Gordon, and a staff of eight teachers. With an initial enrolment of 228 pupils, the school was organized into eight classes catering for kindergarten through to fifth grade. The foundation staff of the school were:

Principal - Mrs Diana Gordon

Assistant Principal (Primary) - Mr J Ironside
Assistant Principal (Infants) - Mrs J Hudson

Kindergarten - Mrs M Barter
Kindergarten / First Grade - Mrs S Rogers
First / Second Grade - Mrs J Hudson
Second /Third Grade - Mrs R Porteous
Third Grade - Mrs K Wittick
Fourth Grade - Mr J Banffy
Fourth / Fifth Grade - Mr W Spence
Fifth Grade - Mr J Ironside
Library - Mrs L Campbell
Secretary - Mrs L Strong

Several changes and additions to the staff took place during the school's first year due to staff movements and an increase in pupil enrolments. Consequently, the staff listed below also joined the school during 1986.

The composition of the staff in mid-1986 was:

Kindergarten (Replacing Mrs Barter) - Mrs N Smith
Third Grade - Mr R Hutchinson
Primary - Mr L Davies
Librarian (Replacing Mrs Campbell) - Mrs D Dempsey
Craft - Mrs J Spence
Librarian's Assistant - Mrs V Breakespear
Teacher's Aide - Mrs J Jones

Since construction of the new school buildings at the Ellison Road site was still incomplete at the beginning of the 1986 school year, the first term of the school was conducted in temporary, demountable classroom accommodation located at Wimnalee Public School. Much credit must be directed at the principal of Winmalee Public School, Mr Bert Taylor, his staff and his pupils, for patiently sharing their school facilities with the staff and students of Ellison School.

The new school moved quickly to organize its activities. In the first month, the children were assigned to School Houses named after famous sportspersons suggested by the pupils, namely Bradman, Lillee and Fraser (a fourth house, Newcombe, was later introduced at the beginning of the 1987 school year). On the 27th February, the school held its first intra-school sporting event, the Annual Swimming Carnival, which was won by Fraser House.

In April, a School Badge and Motto were adopted, based on designs and suggestions submitted over the preceding month by staff, students and parents. The final badge design was based on the ideas submitted separately by teacher Mrs Spence and the McKenzie family. The school motto, 'We Care', was suggested by the Assistant Principal Mr Jim Ironside. The School Badge features the outline of a shield within which the name Ellison is displayed on a scrolled banner above the superimposed initials P and S (for Public School). The school motto is displayed on a scrolled banner below the shield. Featured in the centre of the motto is a comet, to mark the fact that the school was opened while Halley's Comet was a prominent feature of the night skies.

The Department of Education officially handed over the school's new premises to the Principal, Mrs Gordon, on 30th April, 1986, and at the beginning of the school's second term on 19th May, the Ellison staff and students moved into their new school with great excitement and a school spirit which was shared not only by the pupils and staff but by the parents as well. The event was prominently publicised in the local Blue Mountains Gazette newspaper, which featured a photograph of the assembled school in their new surroundings.

The new school buildings, solidly constructed from modern and attractive materials, were set in beautifully landscaped surroundings upon a rather awkwardly sloping terrain. The layout of the school was based on an interesting but functional design featuring an arc of ten classrooms abutted to a centrally located library. These teaching facilities were separated from all other school buildings and amenities by three internal courtyards.

The school canteen began functioning under the supervision of the school's first Canteen Supervisor, Mrs Narelle Halse, who was capably assisted by Mrs Christine Moalem, Mrs Robyn Connelly and Mrs Dianne Rogan. From the start, the canteen provided a wide range of nutritious foods and drinks.

The school's first major fund-raising event was a Gala Day held on 25th May, the money raised from this function being used to purchase a television and video cassette player for teaching purposes, with the balance of funds being donated to the school's library fund.

In June, elections were held to select school captains and vice-captains) and at the first combined school assembly, the Honourable Mr Alisdair Webster, Federal Member of Parliament for the electorate of Macquarie, officially presented the Australian Flag to the school captains.

By the middle of 1986, Ellison Public School was already endeavoring to make its mark on the educational community at large, by way of participation in a range of inter-school events, including sporting carnivals, debating competitions and the Central Blue Mountains Music Festival where the school choir sang "Sing a Song of Sixpence" and "When a Child is Born".

A Middle-of-the-Year-Day-Extraordinary-Extravaganza (MOYDEE) celebration was held, with all the children dressing up and displaying the 'Moydees' which they had made.

Education Week in August provided the opportunity for parents to visit the school and inspect the children's working environment. The third school term also saw the pedestrian crossing on Hawkesbury Road being used for the first time by the Ellison schoolchildren. A Trophy Cupboard and Honour Board, donated by the Rotary Club of Springwood, were also installed during the term.

Mr Bill Spence submitted a successful application to the Blue Mountains Bicentenary Committee for a grant to purchase a collection of books to be housed at the Ellison School Library. Entitled The Blue Mountains Bicentenary Australian Childrens' Literature Collection, the collection is available for loan to other schools in the district, upon request.

School activities in October and November included a United Nations Day, an inter-school sports carnival, a Teddy Bear's Picnic and an Orientation Day. Ellison's first Presentation Day was held on 10th December, with academic, sporting and citizenship awards being presented to outstanding pupils by representatives of the local community.

In retrospect, 1986 proved to be an extremely successful first year for Ellison Public School, with close relationships being forged between staff and children. As 1986 drew to a close, 1987 was looked forward to with great expectation. The Principal, Mrs Gordon, left the school to take up an appointment as Inspector of Schools for the Penrith District and Mr Don Bate was appointed as the new Principal for 1987.

'Taken from the book "A Look in the Past" - Ellison, The Name, The School'
by Robyn Cook and Narelle Halse


Ellison School Song

Blue mountains clear
Where love of school is strong
Join us in song
Sing clear and long
Tell how at work and play we learn to live
All our best we will give
We want to learn with friends
We want to share
At Ellison we care

Wide is the world
And full of wonders grand
How much we long
To grow and understand
Life brings new questions each and every day
More and more we can say
We want to learn with friends
We want to share
At Ellison we care

Come Join with us
And sing a happy song
We love our school
Our pride is strong
Caring for school, for teachers and for friends
On us you can depend
We want to learn with friends
We want to share
At Ellison we care