FROM famine and tragedy to fame and fortune, education in Ross Creek has seen it all over the last 150 years. On June 5th 1865 the first school building was opened in Spratling’s Road Ross Creek with the very first Head Teacher, Joseph Mitchell Starling in charge of the 38 students from nearby communities of timber workers and woodcutters who carted wood to the mines in Sebastopol and Ballarat. Many a story can be told about the trials and tribulations of the varied characters and events that have created the rich history of education in Ross Creek. So many, in fact, that local historian and ex-teacher of Ross Creek P.S and Woady Yaloak P.S, Joan Hunt, wrote a book to preserve these stories. The small single gabled cottage that formed the very first school was also the post office with the Head Teacher fulfilling the roles of teacher, post master and Deputy Registrar of Births, Marriages and Deaths.
The school did not move. It was enlarged in 1873, and by 1876 the enrolment was 104 students. In 1914 a new school was built on the same site. It was built next to the old building and once completed, the old building was then moved down to where the new, current school building is, and the old building then became the community hall). The school building was enlarged in 1873 and by 1876 the enrolment was 104 students. In 1914 a new school was built on the same site with the old school being moved to the Ross Creek Reserve to form the community hall.
In the early years the constant work to the school left huge holes of water close to the school house. On a number of occasions over inquisitive students were plucked from the water hole that often filled to over 6 feet deep. The drainage was said to be so bad that students and teachers were unable to enter the building without getting wet feet. Hardly a healthy environment. Then there was the story of the Head Mistress who, while travelling home by horse and cart to Ballarat with a few students on board, was tragically killed when her horse spooked and bolted. Thankfully the students lives were spared.
The famous Tuddenham family, boasting sporting prowess through their children, especially Des Tuddenham, former Collingwood and Essendon captain were born and bred in Ross Creek with all 9 children attending the Ross Creek P.S.
In 1994 Ross Creek P.S became a campus of the Woady Yaloak P.S, which includes facilities at Smythesdale, Snake Valley and Scarsdale. It moved locations to the current site on the SmythesdaleSebastopol Road and has an attendance of 145 students. On Friday June 12th the Woady Yaloak P.S – Ross Creek Campus have invited all past teachers, students and community members to join with current students to celebrate the last 150 years of education in the area. The day includes a community walk from the old school site to the current facility, the unearthing of the time capsule from the old school site, a living timeline, an afternoon of olden days activities and a display from community members and the Woady Yaloak Historical Society. Joan Hunt, author of Forest and Field: A History of Ross Creek 1840-1990 will conduct a number of bus trips around the area during the day with commentary on life as it once was. Formalities will conclude at 5pm with speeches and a cake. For more details please call Ross Creek Campus on 53428565.