Burradon Primary School 1861-2008

Burradon Primary School (“The School”) emerged from the devastation of the mining disaster of 1860 and was to be an enduring legacy to the memory of the miners who perished in the tragic circumstances.

The community decided to use the funds from the relief fund to build a school which was an innovative and ambitious scheme for the period, to provide the children of the miners with an opportunity to receive a formal education to escape working in the harsh conditions of the mine.

The school has educated generations of Burradon children and all with their enduring memories and it was apparent from the reaction from the community that the majority of people had a great sentimental attachment to the school.

The school was more than a building or an education establishment, it was a place where we developed friendships which endured most of our lives and the memory of life in the playground which prepared us all for adulthood.

Honor Hartley’s description of her time at Burradon school in the 1930’s is testimony to the profound affect the headmasters and teachers had on the children and the high regard and affection which has been remained despite the passing of the time.  I imagine that there are many former pupils who share Honor’s sentiments regarding her time at the school.

The community welcomed the decision to build a new school and the reaction was in accordance with the spirit and vision of 1860. It would have been easy for people to be protective and object to the closure of the old school for sentimental reasons. However, people realised that to compete in the global economy and provide them with opportunities to fulfil their aspirations, our children must be equipped with the necessary education and skills. 

Following the transfer of the pupils to the new building, the school suffered the indignity of a slow and ignominious decline at the mercy of the vandals and its final humiliation at the hands of arsonists.

The school which had been a beacon of hope for local families for 150 years was reduced to scorched derelict shell and only its demolition preserved its last vestiges of dignity.

Holystone Demolition completed the demolition with clinical precision during November 2008 and photographs of the clearance are in the gallery below.

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