History Matters: Community push to accommodate country girls attending school in Inverell

From 1919 the Inverell community agitated for a hostel to give country children the opportunity to attend the Intermediate High School.

Limited private accommodation was available in town, however there were concerns about supervision.

Despite the efforts of the local P & C and then the CWA, a Government subsidy could not be provided.

The CWA began their own efforts and by February 1927 had established a hostel for girls on the Bundarra Road with Mrs C. Woodbury as Matron.

The CWA began their own efforts and by February 1927 had established a hostel for girls on the Bundarra Road.

That year seven girls boarded there and district CWA branches worked tirelessly to support this venture. 

By 1935 the Farmers and Settlers Association District Council became active in lobbying the Government for a subsidy for a hostel, without success. At this time there were 30 children boarding in town to attend school.  

Finally, with the opening of the newly built Inverell High School in 1937 a hostel for girls was erected in Howard Street opposite the school.  

Named the Edinburgh Hostel, it had a tennis court and piano and the girls were supervised by Matron Mrs J. Rutherford. Eventually in 1943 the government agreed to pay the rent on the building. 

The CWA took over the hostel about 1945 and, although the building was inadequate, 24 girls were accommodated.

They did their own washing, cleaning and had to cut wood for the bathroom water heater, copper, kitchen stove and open fire.

During 1950 the CWA felt they could afford to buy and renovate the hostel. Two years later hostel owner, Mr  Rutherford, “offered first refusal of purchase of this building to the CWA”.

Further renovations, including new lights, venetian blinds, lino and painting were carried out in 1961 when Miss E. Tucker was supervisor.

Five years later plans were made to enlarge the timber building not long before it was consumed by fire.

Following a public appeal for funds a new hostel, as seen in the photograph above, was opened in October 1967 with students accommodated the following month.

The hostel closed on 28 August 1981 and was then purchased by Northaven as accommodation for people with disabilities. 

Lodgings for country children: Following a public appeal for funds this hostel was opened in October 1967 with students accommodated the following month.

Lodgings for country children: Following a public appeal for funds this hostel was opened in October 1967 with students accommodated the following month.

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