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Forest Lodge Public School

Forest Lodge Public School

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125th-anniversary book

When Forest Lodge celebrated our 125th anniversary, the school published what was to become an award-winning book! If you are alumni of the school or just interested in the history of Flodge, please email the school and we would be more than happy to send you a copy in the mail!

Know your house!

If you're in a school House other than Mawson (red), you may not know about the former student after whom your House was named. If your history's a little rusty, or you're a student who was napping throughout the school's annual Mawson Day, Sir Douglas Mawson was a famous Antarctic explorer and geologist who attended Forest Lodge Public School during the 1890s. Have a look in the sections on our four houses to find out some more!

Where's the forest? Where's the lodge?

Forest Lodge was named after a house built in the area in 1836 by Ambrose Foss (1803 -1862). Foss was a prosperous chemist, grocer and dentist in colonial Sydney who became an alderman and church deacon, also co-founding the Congregational Church in New South Wales. The Forest Lodge estate originally comprised a grant made to Foss of "thirty-one acres, two roods and fifteen perches" under the hand of Sir George Gipps and dated March 8, 1840. He gave his new home the name of Forest Lodge because it was "surrounded by great trees". A real estate advertisement in 1848 described the house as "that delightful Residence at the Glebe…consisting of seven rooms, pantry, storeroom, kitchen, coach-house, stable and other detached offices." (The word ‘glebe' means land owned by the church and the suburb was referred to as ‘the Glebe' until the early 20th century.) In 1846, Forest Lodge passed into the hands of naturalist and surgeon Dr George Bennett who owned it until 1865 when it became the home of department store founder David Jones. Sadly, the house was demolished in 1912 and today apartments stand on the site, which is opposite the school at 208- 210 Bridge Road.

The Girls' School Gate

Those of you who access the school from Bridge Road may have wondered why there is an old sandstone ‘Girls' School' gate sitting along in the newer fence line. This imposing gate, retained for its architectural and historic interest, serves as a reminder of when Forest Lodge Public School operated as three distinctly separate departments: Boys, Girls and Infants. The school originally opened in 1883 as just a Boys' and Infants' school but by 1885 the attendance rose to over 400, entitling the school to a girls' department. In 1886 a large schoolroom, 19.5m x 7.5m, was added to the existing building with seating for 200 girls and the ‘Girls' School' gate built. The Boys' and Infants' entrance was via the Ross Street gate, and boys could also enter by the Charles Street gate, where the male WC was then located. With the addition of the Girls' School enrolments at this time numbered about 1000 – today the there are 315 students – and remained around this figure for the next 25 or so years. Even with the high rate of truancy, classrooms were bursting at the seams; lessons were held in hatrooms, weathersheds, corridors and outdoors, and classroom lessons rotated. Further extensions in 1913 gave the school 19 classrooms, allowing an average class size of a more ‘manageable' 50 pupils. Boys' and girls' education remained separated at NSW public schools until co-education was introduced in the early 1960s.

Pet Day, 1921. Imagine riding your horse to school!

Times certainly have changed since Pet Day was a part of the school calendar, with today's most popular family pet – dogs –no longer permitted in the playground. It's likely that most students would love to see the return of Pet Day to Forest Lodge Public School – but teachers may be less enthusiastic about any revival given the amount of extra cleaning it would entail! No doubt every Pet Day was a gloriously messy and smelly occasion. Take a look at the wonderful array of animals proudly brought to school by students: poultry, guinea pigs, pigeons, rabbits and even a horse! This Pet Day photographed in 1921was looked on by the school's longest-serving principal, William Bardsley, in what would have been his 39th and final year as headmaster.

Raising the Cane – discipline at Forest Lodge Public School

We've come a long way from the days when school discipline was enforced with the strap and the cane. Until the late 20th Century, the notion of ‘spare the rod, spoil the child' was still in practice in NSW schools. A Forest Lodge ‘punishment book' from 1941 shows that students received their fair share of the cane; each misdemeanour and how many ‘strokes' a child received was meticulously noted down. Children were caned for a range of behaviour including swearing, stealing, cheating and copying, truancy and hitting another child. The ‘punishment book' also lists some more unusual acts of disobedience, such as "belting a girl with a thong", "rubbing chewing gum into boy's hair", "spitting water through window into classroom", "letting off crackers", "playing two-up" and "misusing fire extinguisher". Mostly only boys were hit, although occasionally a girl was given a caning. Girls were usually struck across the knuckles with a ruler. Some teachers caned in the heat of the moment while others waited until after school and doled out the number of strokes they felt was justified by the bad behaviour.

It was still legal for a teacher to hit a child until 1987 in public schools, and it wasn't until 1997 that administering corporal punishment became illegal in any NSW school, public or private. As a result of this legislation, a new approach to discipline emerged. Disruptive behaviour in today's classroom is managed through a system of reminders, ‘time out' and the third stage in which a child is sent to a ‘support desk' in another teacher's classroom.