The 1970s: Further Improvements

During the 1970’s the Agricultural wing was run by dedicated staff under the guidance of a series of excellent principals. Gordon Appleton retired from the Education Department at the end of 1973.  Peter Jones MLA complimented him very warmly for handing over to his successor a school in tip top condition.  Mr Appleton was followed as principal by Frank Harding and Jim Haynes with town wing deputies Russ Raynor and John Smith as relieving principals in 1974 and 1978 respectively.

They were all very capable administrators who had the welfare of the boys and the development of NASH’s very much at heart. The students had a good sense of responsibility and consideration for others. The outcome of this resulted in boys with a mature outlook able to tackle any problems that came their way. There were many opportunities for social functions; organised sport played a big part in maintaining harmony with intense inter-house competitions providing a wealth of sporting options.

The 1970s were also a period of substantive change.  The strong progress of the 1960s was consolidated, further improvements were made and significant changes introduced.  As the completion of the brick dormitories in the 1960’s had lifted the annual enrolment to 108, the need to update kitchen and dining room facilities became urgent. The handsome dining room with its impressive kitchen, butcher’s shop, extensive food storage and preparation area was officially opened by MLA Manning on Presentation Day in December 1970. The old dining room was then enthusiastically converted into  the student “Club”.  Senior Master Kingsley Waterhouse undertook this project.

A fine swimming pool was completed close the club in 1974.  It was officially opened by MLA Peter Jones in October 1974 with two husky students swimming two lengths of the pool to set an inaugural record.

Two years later on Field Day 1976, another water sport facility was opened, this time by previous principal Jim West. Lying west of the living quarters “West Lake” was named in Jim’s honour.  It was developed by damming a gully to provide a large expanse of water for yachting and canoeing.

Several more improvements were made in the 1970’s, many of them by the boys under the guidance of the Building Construction teachers.  A new poultry shed was completed and a new piggery was opened by 1978.  New Cattle yards were erected near the shearing shed and a shade house for tree seedlings was completed. A new abattoir was constructed to replace the old slaughterhouse built by students in 1924.  Another significant development at this time was a new block containing classrooms, science block and library resource centre.

The farm too was now on a firm footing controlled by capable staff with valuable advice from the advisory committee.  It achieved a good balance between the needs of commercial viability, Agricultural Department research, and boys farm education.  More emphasis was now being placed on a more academic approach to tuition.

As the decade drew to a close, plans to end the 25 year old union of the town and agricultural wings of NASHS were being drawn up.  The convenience of being together back in 1955 had served its purpose.


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