Black Rock Primary School - From a Cleaner Point of View



From a Cleaner Point of View

When I first came to BRPS in 1974 things were very different.

There was no carpet on any of the floors except the principal's office and Room 1, which was the vice-principal's room; there were no student tables and chairs, only wooden desks; there was only one telephone; and there were two duplicating machines, one manual and one electric which caused a few problems.

Each day I had to collect all the rubbish, cart it to the incinerator and burn it. Once a week I would shovel out the ashes and spread them at the rear of the oval.

Room 3 which is now the principal's and the bursar's offices, was a spare classroom that was used as a staffroom but there was no running water, so water had to be carted from the cloakroom in saucepans to top up the urn.

There were large pine trees in front of the double portable and the children would play with the pine cones that dropped.

At Christmas they would paint them gold and use them as decorations. Unfortunately on windy days the pine needles would be blown right up to the doors of many of the classrooms.

Fred Artso who was the caretaker before me had to get up at 5.00am each winter morning to shovel coke into the boiler so that the rooms would be warmed by the time school started.

Conversion to gas, although it brought some problems, made things much easier.


On several occasions I had to climb into the roof and once just before Christmas I shouted, "Ho, ho, ho," down one of the vents and gave the students below and their teacher a great fright.

The dishwasher in the staffroom although a blessing most of the time, has caused a few headaches when it has blocked and over-flowed a couple of times over the years.

Possums, mice and ants were also problems that I had to contend with at various times.

I remember vividly being woken up at 2.30 one morning and being told that a group of men with torches and shovels were burying a body at the end of the oval.

I rang the police who later swooped into the schoolyard and baled me up as the villain.

It turned out the ‘criminals’ were from the Board of Works. Vandals had removed a large concrete cover from a 40 foot sewer shaft and dropped in poles and rails.

A lady walking her dog at midnight had nearly fallen in. She had reported it and the workers were removing all the things the vandals had put down the shaft.

Geoff Hamley 
(Cleaner 1974 - )

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