And this was a plan that suited the government who were keen to establish a class of what they saw as "yeomen farmers" such as they had in the Old Country. Of course, smaller farms meant more intensive cultivation which meant higher productivity which meant a growing economy and more money for the government. The only people who didn't see things quite the same way were the squatters whose runs were being carved up by selectors.
|Farm land on the Woodbourne Creek at Bamganie|
This then was the backdrop to the land acquisitions which occurred in the latter half of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century as smaller landholders moved in, fences were erected, crops were planted and families put down roots. Naturally enough, with the increase in population, the demand for education arose and eventually two schools were established on the old Woodbourne run.
The Woodburn Creek Primary School No. 1748 which first opened its doors on 3rd August, 1876 after three years of wrangling with the education department, was situated on land just west of the creek and north of the Meredith-Mt Mercer Road. Not surprisingly its roll read like a list of the local selectors.
|The original Woodburn Creek school site. A post from the school grounds can|
just be seen in the middle of the photograph
|Woodburn Creek Primary School No. 1748. The second building on the new|
site at the cross-roads c1978
|Geelong Advertiser article at the time of Woodburn|
|The second site of the Woodburn Creek Primary School today with memorial plaque|
|Map showing the sites (in green) of the Woodburn Creek Primary School. The|
earlier site near the creek is on the right and the later site at the crossroads to the left
The school was initially located on what became known as School Point, in the V of land formed by the confluence of the Woodbourne and Wilson Creeks. Like Woodburn Creek Primary, the school at Bamganie was moved from its original site and was plagued over the years by fluctuating student numbers.
|Map showing the two sites (marked green) occupied by the Bamganie|
State School. The lower site between the creeks was the original site
In 1923, to commemorate those students from the school who fought in the First World War, a pine tree was planted around the perimeter of the school for each of the servicemen and was accompanied by a plaque. Each of the fourteen current students planted a tree with the fifteenth planted by two students who were to start at the school the following year.
|Some of the commemorative pines can be seen behind the more recent eucalypts|
In 1967 fire swept through the area, damaging some of the trees and, it was reported, burning four houses. I can attest that this was nearly five houses as the fire closely approached the property recently purchased by my parents, some 5.5km up the road. Through the efforts of my grandfather, it was stopped at the plantation which surrounds the house.
|Bamganie World War 1 soldiers' memorial at the Bamganie State School site|