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History of Biala Special School

From 11 July 1969 to the Opening of the School Building

11th July 1969

Public Meeting to discuss possibility of establishing a school for sub-normal children was called by the Mayor Ballina, Ald. R. O’Neill. Thirty two people attended. Mrs J. Blackmore addressed the meeting, indicating the she believed that sub-normal children in Ballina District needed help. Dr. J. Joyce, Area Director of Education, addressed the meeting on “How Sub-normal children can be helped”. An interim investigating committee was formed with Rev. A. Mewett as President and Mrs. J. Blackmore as Secretary.

18th September 1969

A committee to establish a school for sub-normal children was formed. President, Mr J. Johnson; Vice President, Mr W. Monaghan; Secretary, Mrs J. Blacmore; Asst Secretary, Mr R. Lyon; Treasurer, Mr C.P. Rinkin; Publicity Officer, Mrs K. Johnston; Committee, Rev B. Napper, Messrs B. Thomas, I. Bathgate, Mesdames D. Topfer, H. Hunter-King, A.Bathgate.

23rd October 1969

Affiliated with the Richmond Valley Branch of the Sub-normal Children’s Welfare Association.

10th December 1969

“Biala” (I Understand) chosen as the name of the school.

19th May 1970

Biala Special School opened, using the Ballina Surf Club as temporary premises.

21st May 1970

Ladies Auxiliary formed. President, Mrs D Topfer; Vice Presidents, Mrs J. Phillips, Mrs T. Collins; Secretary, Mrs M. Barwick; Treasurer, Mrs P. Johnson.

4th June 1970

The school officially opened by Mrs. J. Starnes, District School Inspector.

24th September 1970

First Annual Meeting. Election of Officers – President, Mr J. Johnson; Vice Presidents, Mr B. Thomas, Mrs D. Topfer; Secretary, Rev B. Napper; Asst Secretary, Mr W. Monaghan; Treasurer, Mr C.P. Rinkin;  Publicity, Mrs M. Barwick.

4th November 1971

Mr. R. Peterson asked to prepare sketch plans for “Biala” Special School.

27th January 1972

Notification of land grant from Lands Department. Land facing Fox Street and Acacia Place.

1st February 1972

School moved to Methodist Hall, Cherry Street, Ballina.

22nd February 1972

Second Annual Meeting and launching of the Building Fund Appeal by the Mayor of Ballina. Forty two members and visitors attend the Annual Meeting. Election of Officers – President, Rev B. Napper; Vice Presidents, Mr B. Thomas, Mrs D. Topfer; Secretary, Mr W. Monaghan; Asst Secretary, Mr R. Lyon; Treasurer, Mr C.P. Rinkin; Publicity Officer, Mrs M. Barwick; Patrons, Sir Robert Askin, Mr J.D. Anthony, Ald J. Easter, Mr R. O’Neill, Mr N. Newton; Auditors, Messrs E.D. Armstrong and Partners.

5th June 1972

Tenders closed for school building.

20th June 1972

Tender for $30,500 accepted from James Hay Constructions.

8th December 1972

Biala Special School building is completed.

3rd February 1973

Biala Special School building officially opened by the Hon J.D. Anthony, M.H.R. The Committee of the Biala Special School at the time of the opening is as follows:
The officers as elected at the Annual Meeting on the 22nd February 1972 and Mesdames N Dalrymple, I Lofts, N O’Neill, J Wilkinson, A Gordon, J Tobin, R Monaghan; Messrs R Peterson, K Rankin, F Moy.