9th August, 2012
PM PRAISES "SMALL COMMUNITY WITH A BIG HEART"
Prime Minister Julia Gillard sent a personal message via member for Eden Monaro Mike Kelly for Towamba School's 150th celebration on the weekend. (4th August)
She praised the "small community with a big heart" for supporting education through times of hardship and change.
She said the establishment of the school was "an act of courage and vision by a community that understood what schooling would mean for its children. These years have not been without hardship," she wrote.
"Only a few months ago, Towamba was experiencing its worst flood in 50 years. But you pulled together and, today, the school remains as testament to what can be achieved by a small community with a very big heart."
Her heartfelt words were loudly applauded by the more than 500 visitors attending the celebrations.
Whilst the PM's words were treasured by many, there was also no doubt that the living treasure receiving most attention on the day was former student, 101-year-old Una Halliday, she together with the school's youngest current student Hayden Walker, cut the cake to mark 150 years of education in Towamba on Saturday.
Established 23 years before Eden was officially declared a township, Towamba School's milestone was recognised by many community leaders including member of Eden Monaro Dr. Mike Kelly, member for Bega Andrew Constance, Bega Valley Shire mayor Tony Allen, councillor Russell Fitzpatrick and many past and present students, teachers and principals from Towamba and other local schools.
Visitors came from Adelaide, Canberra, Sydney and other areas in the region, as well as from Bega Valley and Bombala shires.
Many hours of preparation by the small riverside school and its community, including mowing lawns and preparing entertainment to creating an impressive interactive display of the school's long history using Google Earth, had everything looking picturesque.
Towamba School principal and Year 3 to 6 teacher Kathryn Davis said the event was celebrated in fine spirit and beautifully organised by a dedicated team.
"I've got so many talented teachers, community members and committee members," she said. It was the culmination of a whole lot of hard work by a whole lot of people and I was so glad it went beautifully for them."
For her the highlight was the launch of the Google Earth project, an interactive map of Towamba which includes multimedia such as stories and photographs.
It was shown on a smart board in Ms Davis' room and the school is preparing to make it available to the public online.
"My amazing Nancy (Blindell, school administrator) and Kate Clery a local historian and former teacher's aide, were working on it tirelessly and it's the star of the show," she said.
Other highlights included the work of a blacksmith to complete a post and rail sign on the school grounds, under which a time capsule was buried.
"In the capsule we put a digital slideshow of photographs of children standing in front of a new commemorative mural by art teacher Lucy Macey. With each photograph was included podcasts done by Maureen Volantras with the children talking about their life, dreams and what they think the future will look like."
The celebrations also included demonstrations of time honoured country chores such as shearing and spinning as well as celebratory, dance, song poetry and morning tea along with digital and interactive multimedia.
|Getting ready for the march|
|Marching pupils with ex pupils following.|
|Towamba's oldest former student Una Halliday,
aged 101, cuts the cake with the school's
youngest, current student Hayden Walker.
See article below.
|Burying the Time Capsule
Photo Magnet Newspaper
|Around 150 past and present students gathered
to celebrate the school's150th.
The previous school residence in the background, now the Office.
Photo Magnet Newspaper
February 16, 2012
FROM 21 TO 101 UNA CELEBRATES IN STYLE
Well-known local identity Una Halliday turns 101 on Tuesday February 21, 2012.
Una Irene Millicent Parker was born in 1911 at Towamba, the oldest child to George Arthur Parker (born 1875) at Eden and Hebe Myra Parker (nee Walters) born 1884 at Gedgegerick, NSW.
Her great grandfather, also George Parker, was a convict and arrived in Australia aboard the "Shipley" in 1817.
He originated from Hertfordshire, England and was sentenced to seven years for stealing a pair of shoes.
Una started her life in Towamba working hard on the family farm, attending Towamba School and looking after her younger siblings as they arrived.
She attended school from 1916 until 1923 in Towamba.
Her first job was at the Wyndham Hotel as cook, cleaner and general 'dogsbody'.
Each weekend she would travel home to Towamba t visit her family.
Once she was old enough, she headed to Sydney to work.
During her many years there she worked as a housekeeper, then did her nurse's training and worked on the cruise ships for many years, then on to the Gladesville Hospital, Callum Park and finally in her late 50s, she took up taxi driving until she retired at 70.
It was on the cruise ships that she met and subsequently married Scott Campbell Halliday (known as Jock) who was head purser on one of the ships.
They married in 1950 and purchased a home in Marrickville, Sydney where they spent many happy years until passed away in 1991.
Una stayed on in their home for many years until moving to the Cardinal Freeman Village at Ashfield when she was about 92.
At 98 she decided to up stumps and move back to Eden and now enjoys life at Nullica Lodge, closer to family.
In her early years as a child at Towamba, the family spent many happy times at Boydtown near Eden so when it came time for Una's 21st birthday, the extended Parker family (of which there were many) spent her special day at Boydtown.
At the time the Seashorse Inn was derelict.
Una is always immaculately turned out and most in the family remember her long red fingernails and her hight heels (which she only just stopped wearing).
I've seen Aunty Una nail fence palings on the side fence at Bombala in her high heels, twin set and pearls, with her motherland it took them all day.
Another time she helped my husband move our woodheap away from our new home still in the same get-up, and never broke a fingernail.
Una (or Kate as she is known to her family) had two sisters and two brothers.
After Una there was Hebe May (known as May or Kit) who married Reg Stevenson and lived at Mila NSW.
Then there was Thomas Arthur (known as Tom) who married Kathleen (Kitty) Raby and they also lived at Marrickville until retirement saw them move to Moorebank. Sydney.
Next was James Albert (Jim) who married Hilda Platts of Ando.
They settled at Kybeyan, Nimmatabel until moving to Campbelltown NSW and the last in the family is Gwendoline Joyce (known as Gwen/Gwennie) who married Peter Kimber from Wellington, NSW and they settled in Bombala.
All her siblings, except for Gwen predeceased Una.
When Una turned 100 there was no question about where the celebrations would be held - the Seahorse Inn at Boydtown.
Nieces Jill, Gaye, Carol and Frances organised and decorated the room and the family gathered to celebrate a favourite aunts' birthday.
The family wish Una (Aunty Una) a very special Happy birthday for the 21st and hope for many more.
Una's 101st will again be celebrated at the Seahorse Inn much to her joy - it's the only place for Una. Una and Jock had no family of their own so took it upon themselves to be very hands on with all their nieces and nephews.
She is much loved and respected by all.
She is looked upon as the matriarch of the Parker family since the passing of her mother in 1970.
Una has 12 nieces and nephews (two nieces and nephews have predeceased her), 24 great nieces and nephews and 36 great, great, nieces and nephews.