Sutherland Public School

Endeavour for excellence

Telephone02 9521 2478

Our Heritage

Three families lived in houses whilst another 13 families lived in tents and huts in the bush.


Sutherland was subdivided in 1886. The newly opened railway gave easy access to Sydney. There were only 4 permanent buildings. Three were for the railway whilst the fourth was a general store.  Mr Bramley the store owner was instrumental in organising a petition by the settlers to the government of the Colony of NSW to establish a school. Following a visit from an Inspector for the department of Public Instruction it was determined ‘that the population be sufficient to maintain a small public school.'

It had been built at a cost of  £145 ($290).  The first teacher was Maria Meyer.


The first school, constructed of weatherboard and corrugated iron, a brick chimney, one cupboard for stationery and six benches for seating, was opened on 6 March 1887.

By 1892 there were 105 children on the roll.

Following a deputation to the Minister, B block (two room brick building) was built along with the teacher's house at the lower end of the playground where the canteen stands today.  There was a vegetable garden and orchard which boasted 17 fruit trees on the grassed area where the flagpole stands today.  By 1895 growth in enrolments meant that the additional rooms were soon needed for B Block.  These additions didn't happen till 1917-18.  In the interim, classes were taken in the St John's Hall.


 Due to the heavy undergrowth and ringbarked trees the school was often frequented by  many snakes including red belly black snakes, brown snakes and a death adder.

Flag raising ceremonies prior to World War I were conducted each Monday morning on the Corner of Eton and Flora streets whilst the children recited :

" I honour my God"

" I serve my King"

"I salute the Flag"


World War I

P& C discussed getting the use of a rifle range for senior students.

1917    P&C piano fund of a penny a week was started.  After 2 1/2 years "a fine Ronish was purchased" - TODAY the piano still plays beautifully in our 5J classroom.

1918    Due to serious overcrowding, two more classrooms were added  to the 1892 building with a regular attendance of 230 pupils.

1920    Sutherland Superior Public School—teaching 7th class subjects.

1928    Sutherland Intermediate High School began in the new buildings.

1929    Electricity and mains water connected         

1930    Tar paving of the streets.


The Depression 1930s at Sutherland

During the Depression, P&C donated a pound to the soup kitchen in Boyles Hall.  Lady helpers from the school worked voluntarily in the soup kitchen.  The school shelter sheds were used by the homeless as sleeping places.  In 1932 proceeds from a High School Operetta were distributed to 22 families in the form of "119 garments, 4 pairs  of shoes and boots, 9 pairs of hose and 5 yards of flannelette.

The 1930's were tough times with many fathers involved in relief work.  Whooping cough, influenza , measles and head lice ravaged the children.  Sutherland Shire Council donated 92 second hand bathing costumes for children of the unemployed.

1933 to 1952   Alice Bevan commenced as Sutherland Infants' School Headmistress.

1938    Infants department triumphed with a shield and two cups for the Best Garden from the Horticultural Society.

1939    Railway to Cronulla opened.  The school was ‘full'.  It was hoped that the opening of infants departments at Jannali and Woronora River might ease congestion.


World War II

1939    Matron Thompson (former World War I nurse) established a first  aid outpost in the infants block with an after-hours roster operated by volunteers.  The room used was not electrified so  it was very cold for the volunteers overnight.

1940  Tree planting ceremony to commemorate the death of Nurse Lobb  (midwife) who was responsible for the delivery of local babies in the 1920s.

1942     Air Raid precautions—Parents dug trenches in the playground.  Proceeds from 1942 Christmas Party spent on wire netting which was pasted onto the windows to prevent flying glass injuring students in the event of an attack. The school was an assembly point for civilians in the event of attack.  Many fathers were involved in active service overseas or in the war efforts of road building to Heathcote or the garrison at North Head.  Some of the fathers of children enrolled in 1943 were lost with the sinking of HMAS Perth off Java, were prisoners of war in Stalag 7A on the Danube, a POW in Malaya, or in active service in the Middle East and New Guinea.

To add to the misery of war, the 1940s saw outbreaks of infant  paralysis (polio) which required children to be hospitalised for 9-18 months.

Struggle Street— ‘The school was their support in an uncertain world'

The lack of available housing post war meant that many families of children attending the school resided in temporary accommodation blocks at Kirrawee, on  the camping ground established on the old rifle range at Waratah Park and in tents on reclaimed poultry farms at Sylvania.

1950-   Telephone connected by P&C funds. P&C chastised the department for a 17thcentury outlook by ignoring the need for schools to have  telephones.'

1959    Septic tanks installed .

On the Nose

1952      MLA Munro criticised the "disgusting pan system".  Mr Munro  championed the cause of Public Education in the Shire.1955  Average student enrolment was 1790 students. There were 4 departments, ‘high, girls', boys' and infants'- on 3 acres of accommodation including 8 portables.


1959 Goodbye Sutherland Intermediate High School

Port Hacking High opened in 1959 with Sutherland students providing the nucleus of the enrolment. Prior to its opening, the Sutherland P&C had vigorously campaigned for Port Hacking to be a  co-educational  school as was the case at the Intermediate High School. The department conceded to the pressure, later  opening Jannali Boys and Jannali Girls High Schools.

The history of Sutherland Public School would be incomplete without a brief mention of Adam Schuemaker, principal 1949 – 1960. Many current visitors to our school recall their interactions, positive and otherwise with the very much respected " Boot".


The 1960's


With the removal of pressure on accommodation the

years of the early 60's saw the demolition of the "unsightly portables" and the teacher's residence. A double classroom was converted into the assembly hall. The libraries were combined, a tuckshop was begun and the boys and girls department were combined.  The O.C classes for Gifted and Talented students and the "OD Unit" catering for deaf students at school entry age commenced.


1987 Sutherland Public School Centenary

During 1987 many activities including a street parade, a period athletics carnival, a celebration open day with student performances and re-enactments .A performance of Joseph and his Amazing Technicolour Dream Coat at the Sutherland Entertainment Centre and a reunion dinner.


1887: Maria Meyer

1891: Robert Miller

1895: Thos Abernethy

1896: Herbert Small

1911: James Paterson

1914: Ebenezer Davies

1920: A.E. Hall

1921: A.Hetherington

1924: Robert McKean

1924: Herbert Yabsley

1928: William Hunt

1946: Harry Peake

1949: Adam Schuemaker

1960: Percival Hilliar

1968: John Colwell

1974: Fred Stahl

1978: R.R. Smith

1982: Frederick Lake

1986: Carmelita Kelly

1988: Flo Punter

1997: Graeme Morgan

2001: Marella Hogan

2006: Phillip Bailey

2015: Leah Woolley

Betterments in recent years (2006-2012)

Staffroom refurbishment, Canteen refurbishment , 4 new Water Tanks irrigating gardens and toilets, Covered Walkways ,Flower garden, Vegetable garden,2ndComputer lab

Cutting edge technology with electronic white boards and connected classrooms

Synthetic grass, New toilet block, Solar panels

A new roof on B block and the assembly hall.

A Partial Refurbishment of the school in 2010 under the BER Program including paint, carpets, power supply and furniture.

Have a look at our School Grounds Photo Album in the Gallery section, to see the school now!



Sutherland Public School (established in 1887) is located in the heart of the Sutherland administrative and shopping precinct. The heritage listed school is conveniently located near major rail and bus hubs. The school provides a happy, safe and tolerant learning environment for our 230 students. Our school, of nine classes is inclusive, dynamic and student-centred. The school has an active Student Leadership Program, a Peer Support Program and a Student Representative Council. The school motto, Endeavour, reflects every teacher's wish to have all children motivated to achieve to the best of their abilities. The school community is proud of the multicultural nature of our students. We celebrate our unity and diversity.

Two gifted and talented classes in stage 3 enables the school to offer significant enrichment of the curriculum .The expanded curriculum includes: a school band, chess club, debating, and public speaking. National and international: academic, artistic, digital technology and musical competitions are regularly entered. All children participate in daily fitness and physical skill development sessions. The school is well represented in the local Primary School Sport Association interschool competitions and a variety of sporting gala days. The school website and newsletter each Monday disseminate what is happening in the school. Our philosophy is 'Working with you to achieve the best for your child'.

Facilities within the school grounds include nine well-resourced classrooms, a  student vegetable garden, two computer labs, library, before and after school care, uniform shop, school canteen and an active Parent and Citizens Association. The school hosts the ‘Active After School  Communities Program', Sydney Region Choir South, Swedish School and is a centre for CREATE and Not Just a Brush.

 In 2012 there are 9 classes operating, 1 class teacher position is a job share. In addition, there is a provision for an English as a Second Language (ESL) Teacher and a Teacher Librarian each of 3 days per week.


I would like to acknowledge Pam Thomas (now Pam Lyle) who compiled the  Sutherland School Centenary in 1987. Pam's publication, is available in both our school library and Sutherland Shire Library, providing the NOW generation with information about the THEN. Without this summary, this brochure printed for our 125 Celebration would not have been possible. I hope she will forgive me for this abridged summary.


Phil Bailey

Sutherland Public School  Former Principal