Weetangera park named after local school teacher

Released 26/02/2014


A neighbourhood park in Weetangera has been named in honour of a long-serving teacher at the school originally located on the site.

The site between Smith Street and Kinleyside Crescent will now be known as Ellen Clark Park.

"Ellen Clark began teaching at Weetangera's first school in 1894 and, despite having no formal teaching qualifications, taught at the school for 26 years," Minister for Environment and Sustainable Development, Simon Corbell said.

"Former Weetangera Primary School principal, Margaret Clough,wrote a history of the original school called 'Spilt Milk', which paid tribute to Mrs Clark who, with other unqualified teachers, 'first lit the lamp of learning for the great majority of children in the Australian bush'.

"I think that it is most appropriate that this local park, with such a rich social history, should be named after a woman who lived here and taught for such a long time."

The original Weetangera School had 27 students when it opened in 1875 and was made from blue gum and stringy-bark timber with slab walls and a shingled roof. The school operated at the site for an overall period of 62 years before closing when enrolments dropped to just eight students.

Local children were then bussed to Ainslie Primary School until the current school in Weetangera was established on Southwell Street in 1973.

During a commemoration at for Weetangera's first school last year it was announced that consideration was being given to naming the park in Mrs Clark's honour.

Following endorsement by the ACT Place Names Committee, ESDD has notified the name 'Ellen Clark Park' on the ACT Legislation Register.  The name will also be tabled in the Legislative Assembly.

- Statement ends -

Section: Simon Corbell, MLA | Media Releases

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