Kahibah Public School

Positive Relationships for Positive Learning

Telephone02 4943 4501


School history

The community

The following appeared in the SYDNEY GAZETTE on Sunday 25th March, 1804:
"Lieut, Charles Menzies is sworn in as a Magistrate for the above settlement and County (Coal Harbour and Hunter's River), which is hereafter to be distinguishist by the Name of Newcastle, in the County of Northumberland, the division between which and the County of Cumberland be the Parallel Line of 33 degrees 20 minutes South Latitude".

The creation of a permanent settlement of Newcastle occured on 1804-03-30.

On 1894-02-27 a township called Kahibah was gazetted. In 1865 plans for the village called Kahibah were approved by the Surveyor-General Office. These plans were never acted upon. This proposed village was on the northern side of the entrance of Lake Macquarie where the suburbs of Pelican and Blacksmiths now exist. The name Kahibah comes from the Aboriginal for "active".

On a map by Henry Dangar created in 1828 of the Hunter River and its Branches, shows Kahibah as the current Mark's Point which is 12 km SSW from the township now called Kahibah. On a map of Lake Macquarie from 1885 makes no mention of Kahibah (refer Reid's Mistake).  The first subdivision for the village of Kahibah was established in 1889-11-14. It included Hamilton, Waratah, Burwood, Hexham, Glebe, Redhead & Wallsend streets and covered approx 16 hectares. It was not until 1911 that the Parish maps showed the township of Kahibah. The second subdivision was not sold until 1921-01-08 and included Kenibea & Princess Avenues and Edward Street. A map of the Parish of Kahibah dated 1927 still shows Kahibah as a Private Town also now showing Frith Street and Beath Crescent.

On the map of "State Electoral District of Kahibah" from 1949 shows that Burwood Road did not connect to Burwood Street. Burwood Road continued north after crossing over Flaggy Creek to connect with Highfields Parade. An important event in the life of Kahibah was the opening of Kahibah Road in 1903 but it was not until 1923-04-02 that the first post office was opened. However, on a topographical map from 1952 show the connection of Burwood Road and Burwood Street but not the link to Highfields Parade. The only additional streets added by 1952 were Frith &  Francis streets, Beath Crescent, Cowper Avenue & Burwood Road. Burwood Road was shown as The Black road.

On the Parish maps that show Kahibah, it was a private town up to the map dated 1960.

Charlestown which is 2 km west of the current Kahibah, was first noted in the "Newcastle Chronicle" in April 1876. According to the Parish maps of 1905 it was a Private Town.

In 1880 a rail line was built to Redhead with the line being extended to Belmont in 1916. On an old railway map (held in Lake Macquarie Library), the railway station was named  Kenibea. This station was 103 miles 7 furlongs 8 chains 50 feet (103,7,8,50 = 167.347 km) from Central railway station in Sydney. Yet on a map for N.S.W.R. (1950), the Kahibah station is 102 miles 37 chains (164.898 km) from Central railway station in Sydney. A map for the sale of property dated 1917, names the village as Kahibah but the railway station as Kenibea.  On a State Electoral District Map in 1949 it show the railway station name as Kahibah. On 1971-04-08 at 1710 the last passenger train left Newcastle Station for its run to Belmont with the line closing on 1991-12-19. The old rail corridor to Belmont is being upgraded to a cycle way. However, due to the cost and size of the project it is not due to be complete until 2015. It is planned to be completed in 3 stages Park Ave (Adamstown) to Kahibah Station Burwood Road (Kahibah) 2004, Kahibah Station Burwood Road (Kahibah) to Oakdale Road (Redhead) 2009 & Oakdale Road (Redhead) to Belmont 2015.

In 1922 the Memorial Hall was opened in Hexham Street. It has also been known as the "Soldiers' Memorial Hall". Within the hall were the 2 Honour Rolls for the men and women that went to World War 1 and World War 2. Over the life of the hall it was used for School, picture theatre, library, play group (last one left December 1995). The hall was demolished in 1996 for home units.

On the Kahibah Parish Map of 1927 shown a site for the Kahibah Public School, at the eastern east of  Burwood and Hexham Streets just to the west of Kahibah Station. The 1972 Parish Map still shows it as Kahibah Public School site 18 years after the current school was occupied. Viewing the 2004 Lake Macquarie LEP it is possible to locate this parcel of land as it has not been built on. Currently the site is used for horses and bushland.

While Kahibah Public School was using the Memorial Hall, it was divided into 2 class rooms separated by a curtain. At the back of the hall was a library (not known if this was a school library or a public library). After the school moved into the new buildings on the hill, the hall was used as a picture theatre. The picture theatre closed in the 1960's due to the impact of TV. Even through the Kahibah Public School was built in 1954, the Government maps of 1955 still showed the site of the school at the intersection of Frith, Hexham & Wallsend streets. This site is now a Memorial Park. As late as 1975, a Newcastle street directory still showed a school site at this intersection, 20 years after the current school was built and occupied.

In 1953 Mrs Emily Weeks, Mrs Mary Dixon & Mrs Maizie Smith of P&C cornered the Minister for Education Mr Heffron in a lift in Sydney. They threatened to press the emergency button and strand him between floors unless he agreed to build a school at Kahibah. Mr Heffron officially opened the school on 1956-08-11.

At a Special fete meeting of P&C 1955-03-17: "The subject of school colours was discussed at length and it was moved by Mrs Bell and seconded by Mrs Ball that the colours be navy blue and sky blue, Carried".

At a General Meeting of P&C 1955-07-14: "Moved by Mrs Ross seconded Mrs Thomas that the girls sports dress be:- sky blue, cezarine tunic, navy blue sash, white sand shoes and white socks. Moved by Mrs Butler seconded by Mr Herald (?) that boys sports outfit be:- sky blue shirts and navy blue shorts. Moved by Mrs Ball seconded by Mrs Thomas that the School Flag be sky blue with navy blue writing".

The access to Frith St was made in time for the Opening by the construction of a bridge at Frith St by Lake Macquarie Shire Council, P&C Annual Report December 1956.

The site of the infants school "down the hill" was a peach orchard.

From monthly school newsletters in 1982 it listed the school captains and prefects. They were elected for a term not a year. Also the Athletics champions were list, it appears that no trophy was engraved for that period for the individual person. Champions are:- Senior girl - Wendy Storr, Senior Boy - Wade Penn, Junior Girl - Jacqui Bear, Junior Boy - Adam Hall.

Important dates for the local community

  • 1791-03-30: First coal discovered in Australia on Burwood Beach by escaping convicts William & Mary Bryant
  • 1830's: Copper smelter built in Murdering Gully (closed in 1862)
  • 1850: Burwood Colliery established on south west bank of Glenrock lagoon
  • 1850: Railway authorised from Glenrock Lagoon to Newcastle Wharf
  • 1862: Photo taken of coke ovens on Merewether Beach - First time photo were used as evidence in Australian courts
  • 1866: First tannery in Newcastle established on Flaggy Creek by William Mills
  • 1868-11-19: Land Grant to Waratah Coal company
  • 1889: Rail line built to Redhead (Belmont Line) (map)
  • 1889-11-14: First subdivision of Kahibah (Hamilton St, Waratah St, Burwood St, Hexham St, Wallsend St)
  • 1892: Redhead Tunnel (Fernleigh Tunnel) opened
  • 1892-11: Rail line opened to Dudley
  • 1903: Kahibah road opened
  • 1913: Kahibah Platform renamed "Kenabah"
  • 1916-12: Rail line extended to Belmont
  • 1920: Land donated by Waratah Coal Company for the Memorial Hall
  • 1920's: H. Muirhead & Thoskins owned a sawmill at Flaggy Creek
  • 1921-01-08: Second subdivision of Kahibah
  • 1922-10-21: Special train left Newcastle for the opening of "Soldiers' Memorial Hall" at Kahibah
  • 1923-04-02: First post office opened
  • 1925-01: Redhead Loop name changed to Fernleigh Loop
  • 1925: Kenabah platform renamed Kahibah
  • 1931-07: Dudley branch line closed
  • 1932: Scout camp opened
  • 1941: Lifting of railway tracks on Dudley branch line
  • 1949: Kahibah became the name of the State Electoral District
  • 1954-10-20: Memorial hall used as picture theatre after school left
  • 1962-09: School Land - Corner Hexham, Wallsend and Firth Streets transferred from Dept of Education to Lake Macquarie Shire Council for a park
  • 1967: Last passenger steam train to Belmont
  • 1971-04-08: At 1710 the last rail passenger train to Belmont via Kahibah left Newcastle Station.
  • 1991-12-19: Belmont Rail line closed
  • 1995-12: Last playgroup children use community hall in Hexham Street.
  • 1996: Memorial Hall demolished (This block of land is now occupied with town houses.)
  • 2002-09-26: Abandoned shop across the road in Firth street demolished. This shop sold to the students prior to the opening of the Canteen. Shop was closed approx when the canteen was opened 1965-05-24. (This block of land is now occupied with town houses. 2003-01-12)
  • 2003-02-02: Adamstown to Kahibah Stage of the Fernleigh Track (cycleway) opened

Important changes to the school

From-To : The school names and locations

  • From 1938-01-20 to 1951-12: Kahibah Infants School in the Kahibah Memorial hall
  • From 1952-01 to 1954-10-19: Name change - Kahibah Public School in the Kahibah Memorial Hall
  • From 1954-10-20 to current: School move - Kahibah Public School on the hill - current site

Important dates for the school

  • 1927: First reference to Kahibah School site, at the eastern end of Burwood and Hexham streets, lot 332. Parish Map dated 1927.
  • 1938-01-20: Kahibah Infants School opened - 1st & 2nd years in Memorial (Community) hall) with 33 children
  • 1948-12-09: Government Architect asked to expedite plans for a new school on land at the corner of Frith, Hexham & Wallsend Streets. This area is now a park.
  • 1949-04-13: 1 teacher teaching 50 infants students
  • 1949-05-05: Tenders called for school
  • 1951-12: Kahibah Infants School Closed (at Memorial Hall)
  • 1952-01: Kahibah Public School Opened (at Memorial Hall)
  • 1953: 6.5 acres (2.63 hectares) purchased (current site)
  • 1954: Kahibah Public School (south wing) built - 4 class rooms (7,540 pounds = AUD 15,080)
  • 1954-06-21: P&C inaugurated - first meeting held in Memorial hall with 23 members
  • 1954-07-15: Mothers Club changed name to Ladies Auxiliary
  • 1954-10-20: Children moved into new school (current buildings on the Hill)
  • 1955: 1 additional acre (0.4 hectares) purchased
  • 1955-03-17: Special Fete meeting decides on school colours, navy blue and sky blue.
  • 1955-11: 1st extension  - 2 extra class rooms added (east wing) (3,529 pounds = AUD 7,058))
  • 1956-08-11: Kahibah Public School new buildings (current school) officially opened by R. Heffron MLA (Minister for Education). 180 students
  • 1957-09-21: 24 trees planted at 0930. "Avenue of Trees" planted by 10 life members of the P&C, 5 Teachers, 9 Students (one from each class)
  • 1957-09-21: Beverley Garrash (student) selected as winning entry for school motto "Progress with Honour". She received 2 pounds 2 shillings (= AUD 4.20) to be spent on a dictionary. Announced at tree planting.
  • 1958: 1st Sports Carnival held
  • 1959-04-24: First ANZAC service held at school at 1115. Australian flag donated by Adamstown RSL.
  • 1959: 1st cracker night held
  • 1960: 342 students
  • 1960: 2nd extension - 2 extra class rooms added (west wing) (6,190 pounds = AUD12,300) 
  • 1960-07: School sign erected
  • 1961: A plaque erected to commemorate the assistance given to the school from the Joint Coal Board.
  • 1962-09: School Land - Corner Hexham, Wallsend and Firth Streets transferred from Dept of Education to Lake Macquarie Shire Council for a park
  • 1963: 3rd extension - 2 extra class rooms added (east wing)
  • 1964-01: The school splits into 2 Department - Primary and Infants.
  • 1964-02-18: Mothers Club starts - 53 members present
  • 1965-04-08: Plans for new buildings (Infants school) approved to the value of 38,227 (pounds)(= AUD 76,454) (Newcastle Morning Herald)
  • 1965-05-04: Inaugural meeting of the Canteen Committee was held.
  • 1965-05-24: Canteen opens - prior to this Tuckshop help once a month
  • 1967: Infants school moved into new buildings (lower area "Down the Hill")
  • 1968-12-10: The Betty Quirk Library officially opened
  • 1969: Change from Box pleats dress to new school uniform for girls (current style uniform)
  • 1970: House system introduced (Kenibea - "black swan living in Glenrock Lagoon", Glenrock - corruption of "rocky glen", Burwood the local colliery, Victoria - the name of the local coal seam)
  • 1972-06-15: Mothers Club name changed to Infants School Club
  • 1973: First Fire Works Night held. Last held in 2000
  • 1978-02-16: Ladies Auxiliary disbanded
  • 1981: School bus service commenced - lobbing by Infants School Club
  • 1981-10-29: Infants School Club name changed to School Club
  • 1981-12: Infants department closes
  • 1982-07-02: New toilet block opened
  • 1982-11: Playground mural painted
  • 1983-12: Last Infants move out of building "down the hill" (taken over by TAFE 1986-07-23)
  • 1983-12: 51 year 6 students give the school a clock
  • 1985: Outdoor classroom established
  • 1986: Canteen committee combines with School Club
  • 1986-07-23: Land acquired for TAFE
  • 1988: Bicentennial mural painted
  • 1988-11-04: Celebration of 50 years of schools in Kahibah - 50 year book issued.
  • 1991-09-06: School adopts Kahibah Park and Waratah Street Park
  • 1991-10-25: Formal approval for the establishment of the School Council
  • 1993: 2 Patchworks wall hanging - 184 patches (Book Week)  [ 1 ][ 2 ]
  • 1994-07-29: P&C become Incorporated.
  • 1995-12: Last playgroup children use memorial hall in Hexham Street.
  • 1996: Honour Rolls (WWI and WWII) and photo of WWII soldier (Robert Ewan Oliver) from the memorial hall given to school for safe keeping
  • 1996-10-26: At 1600 the Cola was opened.
  • 1998-01-05: School Club closes
  • 1999: Operation Art - painting by a student to be hung in the Westmead Children's Hospital
  • 2000-12: Last students in TAFE buildings (former Infants department)
  • 2001-06-24: The name of the school included on a DVD lands on MARS aboard the MER-A spacecraft
  • 2001-10-17: First sod turned by Mrs Alder for replacement for the memorial hall.
  • 2002-09: Foundations dug for school memorial hall
  • 2002-10-31: At 1220 the former Kahibah Infants School site (TAFE) was sold to a Sydney developer for AUD 2,120,000 by on site auction for town houses
  • 2002-12-18: At 1800 first function held in the school memorial hall - Year 6 farewell dance
  • 2002-12-19: Richard Face MLA (Local State member) presents to the school AUD 140,000 towards the cost of the hall during Presentation Day
  • 2003-03-10: Last official visit to the school by Hon. Richard Face MLA before retiring from Parliament at the State Election (2003-03-22)
  • 2003-06-10: First official visit by the new Member for Charlestown Hon Matthew Morris MLA
  • 2003-09-13: Open Day for the Hall to acknowledge the community support especially the Hon. Richard Face who unveils a plaque.
  • 2003-09-19: Member for Charlestown Hon Matthew Morris MLA makes a speech in NSW Parliament on the hall
  • 2003-11-21: The name of the school included on a DVD crashes into Comet Tempel 1.
  • 2004-04-16: The details of our Honour Rolls included in the listing with the Register of War Memorials in New South Walesheld by the State Library of New South Wales.
  • 2004-11-04: Official opening of the Kahibah Public School Memorial Hall by Member for Charlestown Hon Matthew Morris MLA
  • 2005-02-23: The name of the school included on a CD on New Horizons travelling past Pluto
  • 2005-12-07: 2nd Demountable arrives.
  • 2006-11-01: The name of the school included on a microchip on DAWN to Vesta
  • 2006-12-06: The name of the school included on a DVD on Phoenix to Mars
  • 2006-12-16: The name of the school included on SELENE to the Moon
  • 2007-11-09: 3rd Demountable arrives
  • 2008-05-10: The name of the school included on a DVD on Kepler Mission

Staff and Principals

Principals or 'Teachers in Charge' (starting date)

  • 1938-01: Elizabeth Meade
  • 1942-05: Mary Brickman
  • 1946-05: Mary Walklate
  • 1947-01: Eileen Laffy
  • 1948-02: Mabel Munday
  • 1950-01: Isabella Niland
  • 1952-01: Thomas Talbot
  • 1953-01: Violet Collins
  • 1954-02: John Roach
  • 1967-01: Betty Quirk
  • 1969-01: Edward Herrett
  • 1975-01: Norman Munday
  • 1983-02: Neil Keatting
  • 1987-02: Barbara Fidyk
  • 1989-02: Robert Neich
  • 1997-03: Pamela Richardson (Denise Rispen relieving principal 2004-04 to 2004-12)

Infants mistresses (starting date)

  • 1964: Rose Bailey
  • 1968: Mavis Sheenan
  • 1971: Beth Nixon
  • 1975: Joyce Tyler
  • 1980 - 1981: Annette Campbell

Acting infant mistresses

  • 1968 - 1971: Lilian Muir
  • 1972 - 1975: Una Lewis

School captians

  • 1986: Anthony Timbrell, Kylie Stephens
  • 1987: Jeremy Deacon, Penny Bear
  • 1988: Bradley Druery, Wendy Jones
  • 1989: Cameron Davis, Cherie Smith
  • 1990: David Went, Alison Roach
  • 1991: Robert Timbrell, Hayley Dalgleish
  • 1992: Christopher Bear, Isobel Allan
  • 1993: Mitchell Deacon, Kellie Blandford
  • 1994: Todd Faulkner, Joanne Latham
  • 1995: Stuart Hall, Rochelle Hardes
  • 1996: Andrew Ianna, Alexia Galt
  • 1997: Aaron Burrows, Jai Curry
  • 1998: Evan Clulow, Vanessa Richards
  • 1999: Alejandro Hidalgo, Rachel Richards
  • 2000: Daniel Houghton, Alexandra Dickson
  • 2001: Benjamin Pittman, Yazmin Penn
  • 2002: Joe O'Neil, Shelby Houghton
  • 2003: Michael Dixon, Josphene Delore
  • 2004: Alex Kirby, Monique Allan
  • 2005: Matthew Delore, Jessica Richardson
  • 2006: Matthew Dorn, Clare Hobday
  • 2007: Ryan Beisty, Bethany Butchers
  • 2008: Jack Devon, Lauren Allan
  • 2009: John Paul Bonaventura, Madeline Flatman
  • 2010: Jordan Atchison, Jennifer Cooksley

Note: For a period, late 1970's to mid 1980's, captains and perfects only held office for one term not for the whole year. This comes from school newsletters of 1982 and past teachers.

Parents and Citizens Presidents

  • 1954-06-21: Mr G. E. Ross
  • 1955 - 1964?: Gordon Fraser (approx 10 years)
  • 1965? - 1981?: unknown (no records available)
  • 1981? - 1982?: L. Prigg
  • 1982? - 1985: unknown (no records available)
  • 1986 - 1990: Randall Roach
  • 1991 - 1995: Jim Davies
  • 1996 : Col Curry

Mothers club and school club presidents

  • 1964 - 1965: Mrs Beale
  • 1966: Mrs Adamson
  • 1967: Mrs McGuinnes
  • 1968 - 1969: Mrs Henderson
  • 1970: Mrs Takimoff
  • 1971: Mrs Osborne
  • 1972: Mrs Collins
  • 1973 - 1974: Mrs Armstrong
  • 1975: Mrs Lang
  • 1976 - 1977: Mrs Stevens
  • 1978: Mrs Fenwick
  • 1979: Mrs Jan Stevens
  • 1980 - 1985: unknown (no records available)
  • 1986 - 1989: Carol Bear
  • 1990 - 1991: Janice Williams
  • 1992 - 1993: Margaret Faulkner
  • 1994: Sharon Mulley
  • 1995 - 1998: Janice Williams