Island Bend school opened in the early Fifties. The first school was at the end of the airstrip, not exactly in line with workplace and health and safety guidelines (had they existed), but definitely in line with every plane that landed. Classes had to be moved outside whenever a plane landed or took off. Eventually a new school was built on the edge of town, next to the road to the dam site. As Island Bend grew, so did its school population. In the early Sixties the boomerang-shaped pink building had five classes, but by 1967 this had dropped to three and the school closed altogether when the town was moved to Talbingo in early 1969.
Being on the very edge of town had its advantages and disadvantages. The main road to the Island Bend dam site went past the front door raising a lot of dust in summer, but at least it was always kept clear of snow in winter. It also meant the noise from the playground was inaudible from the town, so parents were spared the clashes of hockey sticks and screams from snowballed students (not that snowballs were allowed in the playground, of course). More importantly, they were spared the shrill complaints from descant recorders in the hands of novice musicians. One principal told beginners to take their recorder, play it as much as they liked in the bush or at the far end of the playgound, but never, never in the school or at home. Nothing more was said about recorders for two weeks, by which time most students had managed at least a scaleand usually much morein the absence of criticism from distressed parents and teachers. It was a good way of exploiting the hundreds of thousands of hectares of national park that surrounded us, though I sometimes worry about the effect it had on local wildlife.