North Bendoc School Commemoration

A significant and very pleasant historical event unfolded in Bendoc on Saturday 7th November 2009 with the old North Bendoc School being commemorated with a memorial stone and plaque.

A very warm spring day unfolded for the unveiling ceremony with over 40 people gathering together at the old site to witness the ocassion and reflect on the role the small school played in the Bendoc community between 1913 and 1941.

The dedication of the stone was made by Rev Bruce Gallacher of Snowy River/Orbost Region Frontier Services, President of the Bendoc Progress Assciation, while the unveiling itself was completed by fomer students of the school Bessie Cameron and Hilda Roberts.

The unveiling was followed by lunch at the Bendoc Community Hall where more guests gathered to take part in the day, including the only other surviving former student of the school, Jean Hepburn.

Mrs Hepburn was joined by Messrs Cameron and Roberts to cut the commemorative cake, which was beautifully decorated with a lovely depiction of the North Bendoc School standing atop.

Of course the lunch provided the perfect opportunity for the gathering to share their memories and stories they had been told of the school, which is classed as one of the oldest in Victoria.

A printed history of the school was provided to all who attended, with this explaining that the building was first located across the river, where another commemorative plaque now stands. The river flooded regularly during winter, preventing the students and teacher from attending school so the building was eventually relocated to the present site.

As the guests enjoyed reflectng on old time school days and perusing historic photographs, the lunch was given an even more authentic and festive feel as some of the ladies played a cheerful selection of old tunes on the piano.

Amongst the guest enjoying the day was the great, great grandson of early Bendoc pioneer, Frank Dowling, who had fortuitously chosen this particular weekend to visit the area and explore his family’s past.

He could never have dreamt he would have met so many people well versed in the history of the area, and enthusiastic about sharing the details of Bendoc/s early times.

Of course this Sydney visitor was not the only traveller to enjoy the day, with guests coming from near and far to witness the commemoration, which was made possible through the Bendoc Progress Association. This dedicated group secured the Local History Grants funding for the plaques and recording the significant history of Bendoc.