Working on what was to become Rainbow Beach Community News: David Arthur, Smiley Mick, Bradley Pike, Jake Parton and Mrs Robbo in 1989
by Barb Rees
With the 30th anniversary of the Rainbow Beach State School here, it is only fitting to have a chat with the lady that played a huge part in the school’s history…..Heather Robertson or Mrs Robbo as she was affectionately called by the kids.
Mrs Robbo started as head of the school in 1989 with only one other teacher, one admin staff and one cleaner, with the daunting task of educating 50 kids, ranging in age from prep to Year 7!
“It was so funny, I had years 1, 2,6 and 7 all in the same class. I would be teaching the littlies nursery rhymes and reading them stories and the big kids would be laughing their heads off at me singing songs to the kids!” laughs Heather.
“It wasn’t easy at times, but it was a good atmosphere, the big kids were a good bunch, cheeky but good kids.
“At first there was just the admin building, the library was behind the office, we had to use what space we had. We had 53 students and then had three teachers and eventually got another demountable in. That gave us more space and we could move the library.
“The National Parks guys came and helped move all the books and desks. It was great,” remembers Heather. “Everybody got in and helped. Whenever we needed some heavy work done Parks usually helped, but the whole community got behind the school and supported it.
This is your invitation to the School’s 30th Anniversary
Come along to Rainbow Beach State School’s 30th birthday celebrations on Friday November 4.
Starting with a FREE open afternoon at the school where each class will unveil to the community their contributions for the celebrations: 1.30pm – 3.30pm. A delicious afternoon tea will be provided.
At 6.30pm the P&C invite you to the Sports Club to continue celebrating. Enjoy the multimedia displays, photos through the years , drinks and canapés.
Tickets cost $25 per adult, $10 for children’s dinner buffet. Please purchase tickets at the school or Sports Club. You can also direct deposit to BSB: 064416 a/c 1016 3716 (add your name and number of tickets e.g. Smith 2a 2c).
Tickets will still be available at the door, but if you purchase tickets by November 2, it will help the club with catering.
Hope to see you there!
“We had a fantastic teaching staff over the years, some are still there today. By the time I retired in 2002 we had five full-time teachers, one part-time teacher/ librarian, three teachers’ aides and one administrator. It really grew over the years.”
I state that Mrs Robbo must have had a hand in educating most of the “kids” in Rainbow. She modestly admitted she had but added, “Education really needs to start at home. If we can keep the parents involved in their kids’ education it is much better for everyone, especially the kids. Family has a far bigger effect than we ever could.
“It was a bit different back then, we would have assembly and then I would make the kids do some sort of sport for 15 to 30 mins. Then they would come inside and you wouldn’t hear a peep out of them, they would sit and do all their work without a noise.
“I loved sport, especially ball games. We had the best teams. We would go into Gympie every Wednesday afternoon to play touch footy and knock the socks off St Pats. We loved that!” she laughs.
“The P&C were fantastic. Oh, the fundraisers we had. We had Todd River Races where we did a parade down the main street and race down on the beach. We had progressive dinners, beach parties, fishing comps, Sandshoe Balls and Footy Matches. The whole community got involved, and the yearly concerts were a highlight.”
Rumour has it Tina Turner entertained the crowds one year!
Remembering everything doesn’t always come easy, but what humble Mrs Robbo does remember very clearly is, “It was a great environment, an exciting time and you know what? Most of the kids turned out pretty good!”
Mrs Robbo you have a lot to be proud of, and we thank you for your time and dedication to our school and the kids fortunate enough to be educated by you.