Balgownie students step back in time to 1889

Kate, Dylan, Adem, Ella, Kalia and Hannah are dressing the part for Balgownie Public School's 125th birthday. Pictures: GREG TOTMAN

Kate, Dylan, Adem, Ella, Kalia and Hannah are dressing the part for Balgownie Public School's 125th birthday. Pictures: GREG TOTMAN

Balgownie Public School's first students walked to school without shoes into a class of up to 70 and an open fire, which almost suffocated them with its heat.

It was April 1889 when the school officially opened.

School fees cost threepence a week and the toilet was a hole in the ground.

During the 1890s depression, parents withheld their children from school for a week if they were sick for a few days, as school fees were tallied weekly.

Musicals were performed to raise money for books, while parents campaigned against overcrowding.

Over time, more rooms were added, electricity was installed and more teachers employed.

In 1989, the school created a mining museum with memorabilia such as photos, old tools of the trade and a life-like mining horse.

To celebrate the school's 125th anniversary and learn more about its history, the public has been invited to tour its grounds and museum on Sunday.

Students celebrate history at Balgownie Public School.

Students celebrate history at Balgownie Public School.

Students dressed in turn-of-the-century outfits on Friday to celebrate the anniversary.

Kalia Spencer, from year 4, wore her mum's white dress.

"Mum wore it to her mum's wedding," she said.

Two descendants of Balgownie Public School's original headmaster, James Pearson, now attend the school.

Principal Aloma Stewart thanked the community for its strong support.

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