The Bulga Plateau in the rugged Wingham hinterland has always been somewhat inaccessible and sparsely populated: however a school was established in the Bulgong (now Elands) village in 1916.1
In the mid 1920s, the scattered settlers to the west of the village petitioned the government to provide another facility in the locality of Brinawa to better serve the needs of their children. Receiving little government support, George Longworth provided an old building on his own land for use as a school and provided board for the teacher,2 Alexander McAlpin.3 It opened in 1930 with an enrolment of 13 students.4
This situation prevailed until 1934 when the government inspector deemed the building unfit for school purposes. As Killabakh had just been provided with a new school building it was decided to relocate the old, but still serviceable, weatherboard building to Brinawa5 – no mean feat given the state of the mountain roads.
The refurbished building was located on a nearby block (reserved as a school site since 1919) close to the junction of Cooks and Beech Roads, and opened in mid-1935.
Falling enrolments led to the closure of the school in December 19626 and it is now decommissioned and privately owned.
Author: Penny Teerman – based on research undertaken by Arthur Mason in 2014
1 The Mountain Speaks: A Folk History of the Bulga Plateau by Helen Hannah 1979
2 NSW State Records School Files – Brinawa Administrative File, Pre 1939 SR 5/150 89.2
3 NSW State Records Teachers Record Card – Alexander McAlpin SR 15320/34
4 NSW State Records School Files – Brinawa Admission Register SR 1/9450
5 NSW State Records School Files – Brinawa Administrative File, Pre 1939 SR 5/150 89.2
6 Unpublished research – Arthur Mason, Springwood 2014