Way back when, Wednesdays

A stylish new school for the modern era

Did you attend Modbury High School? The North East Leader, a Messenger Newspaper reported on the prospective success of the new Modbury High School on the front page of the edition dated 8 April 1965. This was only the second issue of the North East Leader which had commenced publication on 1 April.

New Modbury High School

Image:  Page 1, North East Leader, a Messenger Newspaper, 8 April 1965

Modbury High School opened on 9 February 1965 at 62 Pompoota Road, Modbury. Much had changed since Robert Symon Kelly had encouraged the development of and named the little village of Modbury on his farming land in 1857/1858 (Auhl, Ian, 1976, Settlement to City A History of the District of Tea Tree Gully 1836-1976, 2nd ed. Adelaide: Griffin Press, pages 202-203).  Modbury and it’s adjoining suburbs had grown with sub-divisions opening up for housing. Since 1958 many young couples and families (including immigrants, many from the United Kingdom and Ireland) had moved into the area and by 1965 there a need for a local high school. In 1959 the population of the District of Tea Tree Gully numbered 2,672 living in 765 houses. By 1965 the number of residents had increased to 20,071 people and there were 4,820 dwellings! (Auhl, Ian, 1976, Settlement to City A History of the District of Tea Tree Gully 1836-1976, 2nd ed. Adelaide: Griffin Press, pages 339-334).

Modbury High School opened on 9 February 1965 at 62 Pompoota Road, Modbury. Much had changed since Robert Symon Kelly had encouraged the development of and named the little village of Modbury on his farming land in 1857/1858 (Auhl, Ian, 1976, Settlement to City A History of the District of Tea Tree Gully 1836-1976, 2nd ed. Adelaide: Griffin Press, pages 202-203). Modbury and it’s adjoining suburbs had grown with sub-divisions opening up for housing. Since 1958 many young couples and families (including immigrants, many from the United Kingdom and Ireland) had moved into the area and by 1965 there a need for a local high school. In 1959 the population of the District of Tea Tree Gully numbered 2,672 living in 765 houses. By 1965 the number of residents had increased to 20,071 people and there were 4,820 dwellings! (Auhl, Ian, 1976, Settlement to City A History of the District of Tea Tree Gully 1836-1976, 2nd ed. Adelaide: Griffin Press, pages 339-334).

The first principle appointed at Modbury High School was Mr A.G. Strawbridge who held this position until 1975. In 1965 seven teachers were appointed as there were only 99 students enrolled for their first year of high school (now year 8). It seemed that the school curriculum would also grow with its students as children would be able to progress to their second year of high school (now year 9) at Modbury in 1966.

Lessons were taught in what still is the main building at Modbury High School, an E-shaped structure with a façade featuring steel rimmed windows and stone crazy paving. At the time, this style of architecture in the mid-century modernist style was considered stylish and progressive. Modbury residents would have been proud to have such a state-of-the-art school built in their local area. This building picture above had twenty-four classrooms and could accommodate a maximum of 850 students. Students could study traditional disciplines of Mathematics, English, Science, French, Geography, as well as art and craft.

As stated in the article above, in 1965 only three classrooms were in use as well as other facilities such as science laboratories, an art room and a library.

Science class at Modbury High School

Image: Science class. Bottom of page 1, North East Leader a Messenger Newspaper, 8 April 1965

There were also rooms dedicated to the study of crafts and home economics – note the kitchen and laundry rooms were only girls would be taught how to run a household! It would be interesting to learn what activities boys pursued in the craft unit, possibly wood, leather or metalwork. In the following year, students would also be able to undertake office studies in a custom built commercial room.

At the time of this newspaper article, the Modbury primary school was temporarily sharing space and facilities with the high school in the main building.

The North East Leader also printed a photograph depicting local business the Savings Bank of South Australia donating books for Modbury High School’s library on page 2 of the edition dated 10 June 1965.

Books presented to new Modbury High School

Image:  Page 2, North East Leader, a Messenger Newspaper, 10 June 1965

By 1972 enrollments at Modbury High School had grown to a record number of 1383, so the school expanded out of the main building into transportable unit classrooms. By 1970 Modbury High was able to offer its first matriculation or Leaving Honours class to pupils (now year 12). In 2017 821 students enrolled at Modbury High School. The current principal School is Ms J. Costa (https://www.modburyhs.sa.edu.au/our-school/history).

#waybackwhenwednesdays

 

 

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