1944-1954: Resuming Under Difficulties

Upon returning to the NSA the students and staff found the buildings and grounds had suffered badly from a year of military occupation and a year of neglect. The boys were organised into working parties and made considerable improvements. Wartime restrictions were still very much in force and continued to be for several more years.

Sporting activities continued as before with only small changes.  One notable innovation was the inaugural Agricultural High Schools’ carnival held at NSA with 60 competitors from Pinjarra, Harvey and Denmark. In later years the interschool carnivals became an established feature.

Meals were now served in the “new” dining room, with a prefect at the head of each table. Most of the food was produced on the farm and was always plentiful. As in past years raiding the orchard was an exciting pastime.

The annual shows demonstrated the high standards on the farm.  Farm manager Hugh Ritchie was deeply respected for his knowledge of animal husbandry and breeding.

Jack Mavor was still training the boys in orchard work, jam making and fruit preserving, and also instructed them in boxing and gymnasium in the old common room. From 1945 Jack recommenced the annual gymnastics championships. Half the school were also in the show squad which performed callisthenics, pyramids and formation. Jack retired in March 1952 and the excellent state of the school orchard was directly attributed to Jacks skill and painstaking care.

Concerns for the school at this time were that the proportion of time spent in the classroom should be increased and a reduction of time spent on craft work and routine farm work. Immediate steps needed to be taken to improve the buildings and accommodation and the necessity of reducing the boy’s isolation was addressed.  A committee decided that the best way to achieve some of these goals was for the agricultural school to be amalgamated with the nearby junior high school.  Not only would the boys gain access to better facilities, they would mix regularly with girls. Accordingly in 1945 an amalgamation was proposed and a decision made for a joint high school.  Nevertheless the High School was not built for another decade.

In 1954 as the Education Department called for applications for the position of Headmaster of the New Narrogin Agricultural High School which was to have an “Agricultural Wing” being the School of Agriculture.  Anger and concern spread throughout the farming community that the School of Agriculture would just become an appendage of the high school.  The town’s people also disagreed with the amalgamation as they had worked so long and hard for their own high school. It was even suggested that the NSA be transferred to the Agricultural Department with preferred emphasis on practical farming training as against academic studies at the Narrogin High School.

There was therefore much interest in watching how the new school with its town and agricultural wing would progress in the coming years.


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