The small but mighty Drummartin Primary School has closed its doors for the last time.
The school rang its final bell at the end of last term, on September 18, after a staggering 141 years of educating and inspiring rural children.
The humble school had dwindled to just six pupils (down from 13 in 2011 and 11 in 2013), with low numbers projected for the future.
The school council’s decision was not taken lightly, according to former principal Adam Torney. He said the closure was “very tough”, but was done in the best interests of the students.
The close-knit community will feel the loss keenly, with the school hosting the annual carols event as well as the school production, which saw most of the Drummartin township turn up to be entertained.
Generations of families who were taught at Drummartin Primary School will gather on Sunday to share their fond memories over a celebratory afternoon tea.
Drummartin Primary School has been closed twice before in its 141-year history, but its most recent closure at the end of the last term is expected to be final.
On September 18, the six students at Drummartin Primary School closed their notebooks and bid their farewells to their humble, charming school.
The school’s dwindling numbers and poor projections for the future were the reasons for the closure, outgoing principal Adam Torney said.
“It was a fairly emotional day,” Mr Torney said.
“It was quite a charming little small school, it had very much a family atmosphere.
“It was a very tough decision the school council had made ... with the small numbers we had a projected … the most we got to was eight students by 2020.
“We didn't feel it was sufficient for the future … it was going to be the best for our kids.”
The rural community school was first opened in 1874 but the turmoil of World War I saw it closed until 1922. It was closed again after World War II, from 1947 until 1958.
He said although the process was bittersweet, it was positive to hear some of the stories from former students and staff about the memories.
One cheeky tale from long ago involved students climbing up a tree to drop rotten eggs down the chimney.
Former student Carly Demeo, who attended the school from 1997 to 2003, said inspirational teachers were memorable, as were rainy lunch times devoted to watching repeat episodes of Round the Twist.
“I can pretty much guarantee that every kid who went to Drummartin will know the Round The Twist theme song by heart,” she said.
On Facebook, Carolyn Wright said she had met “wonderful people” during her school years, while Brooke Ball said she loved being greeted as soon as she arrived at the “beautiful school”.
Caroline Fiedler, who worked at the school, has had generations of her family attend, including the oldest surviving pupil, 97-year-old Anne Fiedler who went to the school from 1929 until 1932.
Mr Torney said the decision was made with the full understanding of the broader implications for the community.
The small school used to provide access to the internet and photocopier for community members, as well the annual carols and school production.
“We knew it would be a big loss to the community, but we had to put the children first – we had them at the forefront of our minds,” Mr Torney said.
The school provided an education for many youngsters from the land and stood by its motto until the end: “Proud of our past...sowing the seeds of our future.”
A celebratory afternoon tea will be held at the school from 2pm to 5pm on Sunday October 11.