Mullengandra Public School's 146-year history about to end with closure pending

MULLENGANDRA Public School is destined to shut its doors at the end of this year.

DAYS NUMBERED: Mullengandra Public School is set to close at the end of this term after 146 years in existence. The school has had only two students this year. Picture: MARK JESSER

DAYS NUMBERED: Mullengandra Public School is set to close at the end of this term after 146 years in existence. The school has had only two students this year. Picture: MARK JESSER

With the student population dropping from seven to two in the past 12 months, the NSW Education Department is poised to close the school which started 146 years ago.

The nearby Woomaragama school opened two years later than Mullengandra, but shut its doors two decades ago.

The school has no enrolments for next year, but the department is refusing to reveal whether it will go into recess or shut permanently and leave Table Top as the only school between Albury and Holbrook.

Principal Julie Twitt or anyone else connected with the school have been instructed not to speak with the media.

“With no enrolments for 2018, the Department of Education is now reviewing projected enrolments to consider the future educational provision at Mullengandra,” an education department spokesperson said.

The school had an enrolment of 27 in 2004 when the Mullengandra community successfully fought a campaign to have improved access with the addition of a turning lane added to the Hume Highway.

A key player in the campaign was long-serving councillor Bill McDonald, who lives at Mullengandra, and feared the entire school population travelling on the school bus at the time could be involved in a serious accident.

Mr McDonald was also a student at the school at the outbreak of World War II.

“It is sad, but it’s modern Australia isn’t it?” he said.

“Mullengandra not that many years ago had a pub, a couple of churches and a school.

“The churches have closed, the pub has been sold and become a residence and now the school has gone.

“The school and school concert were features of the community, but no more.”

Greater Hume mayor Heather Wilton said council was notified by the education department about five weeks ago of the school’s closure.

“We were told there are currently two students and they will be going to other schools next year,” she said.

“We were rung specifically to say the school would be closing.

“It’s disappointing, but it is the reality we’re all faced with in country areas.”