Five-year-old Elih Brooks and his sister Taylor, 9, follow their dad, granddad and great grandmother through the gates of Yamba Public School.
Five-year-old Elih Brooks and his sister Taylor, 9, follow their dad, granddad and great grandmother through the gates of Yamba Public School.

Fourth generation starting school

WHEN Yamba Fire Brigade captain Allan Brooks played in the school grounds of Yamba Public School, it was usually in bare feet and almost never in school uniform.

This year Allan watches his young grandson Elih follow sister Taylor into the school yard in Yamba as the fourth generation of Brooks to attend the school.

“I started in 1948, there were about 10 kids in my class,” Mr Brooks said.

“The principal was Mr Ardent, who would take us fishing and make black fish floats on sports day.”

He said he still remembers his lovely kindergarten teacher Miss Sullivan and laughed when asked wether he was ever caned.

“Almost every second day,” he said.

Allan’s mum Myrtle Carr started at the school as a five-year-old in 1916.

Her father had selected land on the foreshores of Oyster Channel in what is today know as Carrs Drive and would walk the distance to the old Yamba School site in town and home again – or ride a horse.

Sadly, Myrtle died while Allan was just starting out at Yamba Public and would not live to see her grandchildren and great grandchildren follow her lead.

Allan’s son Michael was at the school in the 1980s when shoes were compulsory and football, on the site where the bowling green now lies, was the sport to play.

“I’d only keep my shoes on until I was out of the door,” a barefoot Michael said.

He remembers been called up to Mr Gorman’s office and asked where ‘his old man was catching black fish’.

His mum and dad remember Michael trying to do anything to get out of school, a trait that hasn’t been passed on down to Michael’s daughter Taylor, who hopes one day to be a marine biologist.

The classes may have grown tenfold and the school may have relocated, but after 50 years Allan is still running into his classmates from Yamba Public School.

“I was fishing in Oyster Channel last week with about four other boats and as I looked around I noticed all of us were at school together at Yamba Public.”



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