THE memory of Wattle Grove School has been commemorated with the erection of a sign at the site of the old school and church.
Former student Colin Hill orchestrated the memorial and supplied the Herald with a history of the school, which sat on the south side of the Gap Rd near Frances.
Opened in 1917, the school had a long and interesting history.
Its first teacher was a Miss Ellen A. A. Northcote.
The school was officially opened in the newly built Wattle Grove Congregational Church building on September 18, 1917, and was closed in 1923 for reasons unknown.
It is guessed that the closure was a result of insufficient students to warrant a teacher.
It was reopened in 1929 when more students reached school age.
George Murray was the first teacher in this period which also saw Helen Southcott, Jean Hoston and Rita Graham as teachers.
During this time Wattle Grove had what could have been the most unique roll call in all of Australia.
Of the 10 children on the roll, five were Hills and five were Holes - and all were boys.
Those names matched the the conditions of the roads they used to get to school - all hills and holes.
Once again, due to lack of enrolment, the school was shut on June 7, 1936.
In the period up to 1941 a number of families came to the district and the education department was requested to supply a teacher.
Due to the erratic nature of past pupil numbers the department required at least 12 pupils before a teacher would be supplied.
After a muster of the district 12 students were promised but three - Barry Badman, Harry Lewis and Claire Pridham - had to wait until their fifth birthday.
The school reopened on June 7, 1941.
Another department regulation was adequate board and reasonable transport to be supplied when lodgings were over two miles from the school.
Each family at the school shared the responsibility of boarding the teacher for six months at a time.
As this period was in the middle of WWII the school was extremely fortunate to be able to keep going.
With petrol being rationed, travel to school was confined to walking, horseriding and bikeriding.
The school was always in jeopardy should a large family move away from the area.
At one stage the attendance dropped to five and the school was warned that it may close.
An assurance was given that more children would come to the district and the school was kept open with another family moving into the area.
Numbers became steady after the war ended and eventually a sports day was held in 1951 between Wattle Grove, Frances, Binnum, Neuarpurr and Benayeo at Mr P. A. Learmonth's paddock.
This day was called the Combined Border Schools Sports Day.
It was such a success that it became an annual event and has grown into a widespread and popular annual interschool competition.
In 1953 the education department began to again look at closing smaller schools in outlying areas and transporting students to larger schools by bus.
Wattle Grove School was a candidate for this with the school permanently closed in May 1954 and students were taken by bus to Frances.