1955–1959: The Agricultural Wing Begins

Mr Julius Barton was appointed as the First Headmaster of the new Narrogin Agricultural Senior High School. Due to leave he was never actually present as headmaster, although this was not that important as he was well supported by the two Deputy Principals, Bill Walker and Pat Cullen.  The situation steadied with the appointment of John Tulloch as headmaster from 1957 to 1959. Being a kindly and thoughtful teacher he established confidence in both staff and students with his direct and sound administration.  The staff at the two schools worked hard during the late 1950s to make the combined school a success.  The new crest incorporated wheat sheaves from NSA with symbols of academic learning. The school motto was the former NSA’s “Be Thorough”.  There were now numerous opportunities for the two schools to mix socially.

In 1953 the Education Department announced the formation of an honorary advisory committee to help overcome any problems with the farming operations at the Ag Wing. The committee consisted of the Headmaster Mr Walker, Mr Cullen, farm manager Mr Ritchie, MLC Loton, a representative from the Department of Agriculture and five prominent farmers, Grant McDonald, Pat Moore, Harry Trefort, C G Russell and P Carter. The committee met for the first time on June 10, 1955. The committee recommended increasing the acreage cropped, not only to give students maximum instructional benefit but to reduce stockfeed grain purchases.

In 1957 the dynamic Marson (Monty) Buttfield joined the agricultural wing staff.

Monty created the Saturday morning football competition between the Ag wing and the High School. The competition kicked off in June 1957 and was an immediate success. The football was of a high standard and in fact, by 1964 no fewer than nine boys who played in that competition were playing for Perth League Clubs.

At this time the principal was also made responsible for the whole of the operations at the Ag wing. This solved problems between the farm staff and academic staff who put different emphasis on farming and school work.  A new farm manager by the name of Laurie Down was appointed in 1958 when Hugh Ritchie retired at the end of 1957.

Farm Machinery presentations also increased during this period.  The British Tractor and Machinery Co. presented a Ferguson tractor and Premier Hawke handed over a new tractor from Chamberlain Industries on April 3rd, 1957 and the Ford Motor Co made its third tractor presentation in 1959. At this time a new Bedford truck was also acquired.  Another improvement was a new Aberdeen Angus Bull organised by Harry Trefort after the advisory committee turned its attention to separating the dairy and beef herds.

The Boys accommodation was still a major problem and needed urgent attention. Funding was eventually approved for a new brick dormitory.  Work began in April 1960 and preparations were put to hand immediately, these unfortunately included the felling of the pine trees which stood on the site.


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