We’re Back!

Dunalley Primary School launched into 2013 with a whole of school excursion to the Port Arthur Historic Site, a boat cruise, a gentle bushwalk around the waterfront and then an idyllic splash and play at the beach on Stewarts Bay for the afternoon.

Thoughts inevitably went to the people affected by fires at Molesworth and other parts of the state, but the weather was magnificent; the children delighted to meet up with all of their friends they had missed over the holidays and share their stories as they always do; the teachers had the opportunity to connect with their new charges for the next year; and the air was only filled with squeals of joy and laughter.

Lunch was prepared by a happy bunch of parents who had joined in the activities for the day and who shared the relief at having the children back to school at Dunalley. A perfect start to school!

2013 Feb 07_3666


To all our School Families

A DREAM   –  It is hard to believe that it is already a whole month since Dunalley Primary’s buildings were completely destroyed by bushfire and we faced a very uncertain future for schooling our children in this community.   I think we are all still trying to comprehend the events of 4 January and the overall effect on our lives.  However, nearly four weeks on since the decision was made to build a temporary school at Dunalley, the developments on site have been nothing short of a miracle.  The schedule to complete the school in time was always going to be very tight and we appreciate how hard the whole team involved has worked to meet that deadline.

ON OUR WAY BACK – We are pleased our students will be returning to school on Thursday 7th February, following a couple of extra student free days at the beginning of term which will allow the staff to sort the mountain of donated resources and prepare for the changes that will be inevitable in our new set-up.   Thank you to all of them for forsaking some of their holidays to allow this to happen.

LEADERSHIP  – The battle for the temporary school was very intense for those involved, but blessedly short – although it didn’t seem like that at the time!  It was critical that the Minister for Education and the leaders in the Department of Education were able to visit our community to view for themselves the devastating effect the loss of the school had had and would have on the whole community.    This enabled a speedy and inevitable decision to be taken to build the temporary school which was vital in alleviating concerns and allowing the recovery process for our whole community to begin.  Again, the role of Jen Eddington and the Tas State School P&F Association members proved amazingly supportive.     We thank all of them for the leadership shown in this regard.

SOCIAL MEDIA –  The website and Facebook were incredibly important tools in keeping families informed while we were scattered far and wide for those first few weeks.    It allowed us to receive amazing support from all over the country.    The donations of both material and financial resources have been unbelievably overwhelming and will ensure that we have one of the best resourced new schools around.  I cannot thank Sabine Bailey, Karen Kenny and Jo Hibberd enough for their work on the development of our Facebook page and Meg Bignell for all her assistance with the New Dunalley School website.    I am very much indebted to a couple of personal friends who offered me invaluable support and advice from Day 1 when I needed direction – a little R&R in this case went a long way!

PARTNERSHIP –   I would very much like to thank our Principal, Matt Kenny, for his support, concern, advice and strength both personally and for staff and parents through a period of uncertainty and then re-building.     It will remain an important and lasting relationship that reflects the valuable partnership between the parent body, the wider local community and the public representative of the Department of Education.  Thank you very much, Matt!

Elizabeth Knox, Chair,

Dunalley School Association


Tuesday 5 Feb – Student Free Day, students do not attend

Wednesday 6 Feb – Student Free Day, students do not attend

Thursday 7 Feb – Prep to Grade 6 students return to school for a whole school excursion to Port Arthur and Picnic at Stewarts Bay.     The P&F needs volunteers for parent help and picnic duties for that day.   No uniform required  – beach clothes, bathers and towels.    Lunch provided

Friday 8 Feb – Prep to Grade 6 students attend school for whole school activities in and around Dunalley.   This include a visit by Hawthorn Football Club at 12 noon, BBQ lunch & football activities at the Dunalley Cricket Ground.   All parents and community members invited!   We would love some assistance with parent help for some of the morning activities if you are able to give up some time.    Please wear uniform with some footy colours, if desired.      Lunch provided.

Also Uniform Day – Fire Station – 9.00-2pm

 LONG WEEKEND – Feb 9th, 10th 11th

Tuesday 12 Feb – Student Free Day, students do not attend

Also Uniform Day – Fire Station  9.00-2pm

Wednesday 13 Feb – Prep to Grade 6 begin classes in our new buildings

Thursday 14 Feb – Kinder students begin

Friday 15 Feb – Classes as normal for all students K – 6

For further back to school details please click on the “BACK TO SCHOOL” tab on the main menu.


Razed to New Heights!

Razed to New Heights!

If you’d been a spectator at Dunalley Recreation Ground on Thursday morning, you would have seen some world class rugby union players in action,  some pretty handsome looking fellas and our own Mrs Kenny (Grade 2/3 teacher and wife of principal) being lifted high in the air by two strapping blokes to take a spectacular mark – yes she did catch it, to the delight of the crowd who gave her a hearty cheer (despite some of them feeling rather envious it wasn’t them being manhandled).

The Melbourne Rebels very kindly took time out from their training schedule to give the children of Dunalley some rugby tips, including training drills, ‘packing a scrum’ and a short game of touch rugby. And they really were kind, taking time to chat to children, staff and parents both on the field and afterward at a casual reception at the Dunalley Waterfront Cafe (thanks Ben and Steph).

Thank you very much to the team for bringing a smile to the faces of many Dunalley residents – not to mention the generous gifts of rugby balls, sweets, stickers and best of all tickets to today’s  pre-season match against the NWS Waratahs at North Hobart Oval. GO REBELS!

And many thanks to Rebecca White and Ian Field for making the Rebels visit happen.

From The Mercury, Friday 1st February…

Rebels players, from left, Tom English, Scott Higginbotham Alex Rokobaro and Scott Fuglistaller hand out tickets to fans, from left, Rosie Kenny and Sophia and Isabella Pauchet. Picture: NIKKI DAVIS-JONES

Rebels players, from left, Tom English, Scott Higginbotham Alex Rokobaro and Scott Fuglistaller hand out tickets to fans, from left, Rosie Kenny and Sophia and Isabella Pauchet. Picture: NIKKI DAVIS-JONES

IT was hard to know who enjoyed it better – the big, burly Melbourne Rebels rugby players or the kids of Dunalley.

In Hobart for a pre-season trial match against NSW Waratahs at North Hobart tomorrow, the Melbourne players insisted on going to Dunalley to put on a junior clinic for the kids of the fire-ravaged area.

It was a shock to Rebels rising star Cruze Ah-Nau to see the damage for himself.

“I knew it was bad. I didn’t know it was this bad,” the 22-year-old front-rower said.

“I’d heard there were 120 homes gone, and the school just across the road gone as well.

“We saw in the car on the drive down how massive it was. It started 50km up the road. Actually seeing it for ourselves was a big eye-opener.”

The main street of Dunalley was a hive of activity yesterday.

People were clearing up and cleaning up, and a small army was attending to the rapid construction of the temporary classrooms at the school.

A stone’s throw away on the Dunalley footy ground, the Rebels created a vibe that would be the envy of any AFL footy clinic.

rebels2013 Jan 31_3515

School’s In – it’s official!

On behalf of the Dunalley School Association, I would like to express our delight at the amazing progress made in establishing a temporary school on the Dunalley School grounds.   It is only three weeks today since the decision was made to build a temporary school and in that time the developments on site have been nothing short of a miracle.   The schedule to complete the school in time for a start on 5th February was always going to be very tight and we appreciate how hard the whole team involved has worked to meet that deadline.   We recognise that there may be a slight delay in the return to a regular school routine to ensure that the buildings are completely ready for the teachers and students alike.  But the relief of knowing that school life in Dunalley will resume as usual in our own community overrides any inconvenience that may occur in the short term.

We fully support the Minister’s decision to declare two student-free days for the 5th and 6th of February, with children returning to a modified programme on Thursday, 7th and Friday 8th , which will allow for the final handover of the completed buildings on the 12th.   We understand the need for a further student-free day on the 12th to allow for final preparations and classroom set-up by the staff in readiness for a return to a full teaching programme and normal routine on the 13th February.    To reach that point in a little over a month since the fires ripped through our township is an unbelievable achievement and all involved deserve our gratitude.   We thank you from the bottom of our hearts!

Elizabeth Knox

31 January 2013



The Minister for Education and Skills, Nick McKim, said today that work on the temporary Dunalley Primary School is continuing and that the temporary school will be open to students on Wednesday 13th of February for Prep to Grade 6, and Thursday 14th for kindergarten.

Mr McKim paid tribute to the work that has helped ensure the school would be ready within the next two weeks.

“This is an outstanding achievement, and our thanks go to those dedicated people who have been working around the clock to ensure students would be able to return to school as soon as possible,” Mr McKim said.

“To have a temporary school established on a site that was razed by fire just weeks earlier is a tribute to the dedication and commitment of those many workers who have helped ensure the site is up and running.”

Mr McKim said that teachers will return on Monday 4 February and will undertake three days of professional development activities and infrastructure support.

“This will occur either in the school gymnasium or the Tasmanian Fire Service building at Dunalley.

“The first two days of the school year for students, Tuesday and Wednesday 5 and 6 February will be student free days followed by local excursions and activities on Thursday and Friday 7 and 8 February,” he said.

Mr McKim said that Monday 11 February was a public holiday and students will have another student free day on Tuesday 12 February to enable staff to organise furniture and set up for the year.

“One hundred and thirty students (130) from prep to grade 6 will start classes at the temporary DunalleySchool site on Wednesday 13 February with kindergarten students commencing on Thursday 14 February.

“Donations are being delivered on an ongoing basis to the school.

“I would like to thank the parents and teachers for their support during these difficult times.

“Everyone has all pulled together to give students an opportunity to begin the school year in their original environment,” Mr McKim said.


1301 Dunalley Primary School 300113 Coloured A4-page0001



Since the moment the school rebuild was announced, a host of brilliant people have pulled together to ensure that our children will all return to school at Dunalley for Term 1. It will be a little over a month from when the fires destroyed our school until we have teachers and students back together again. It is astonishing to think that in that time a whole school catering for 130 students could be up and running after being reduced to rubble.

There are too many people to thank (although we’ll give it a go over time). Today’s big thank you goes out to those magnificent fellas and sheilas who have been on site day in day out, piecing together our new temporary school.

Men At Work.

Men At Work.

Each day there are around 30 workers on site – men and women from local construction companies, who specialize in bringing all trades together to see an urgent job meet its deadline.

Onsite, there is an air of efficient, good humoured industry as builders, plumbers, electricians and other essential trades work together to rebuild the heart of Dunalley and make it beat again. One worker stated that this is possibly the most enjoyable job he has been involved in. It isn’t without its challenges though – another worker commented that his mind is working 7 days ahead at all times, and doesn’t switch off until the work is done. They are confident they will be out before our children troop in to pick up where they left off last year – in vastly different surrounds.

So, as the way is cleared for the last 3 demountables to be slotted into place and hooked up for utility, THANK YOU VERY, VERY MUCH to a group of extraordinary construction workers – love your work dudes.

NB if you’d like to help show our appreciation to these hard workers, turn to the ‘How Can You Help’ page.

Pipe down fellas

Pipe down fellas


The school building site continues to change before our eyes. Today the administration building (our school office) arrived on site and tomorrow it will be another two classrooms.

The Engine Room has landed!

The Engine Room has landed!

By tomorrow the last of the debris will be removed from the old school site and it will be covered with loam and seeded.

For those who like a bit more detail, have a look at the site plan for the complete picture of the new (temporary) school layout
Once we move in, there will be plenty more work to do to complete the play areas and bring the grounds back to life. Many of the ground’s trees were lost in the fires and we would love each class to have its own raised garden bed to work on. We have had many offers of help in this regard (thank you!) so there is every chance the vision could become reality.
We will also need to get started on some stunning artwork to make our school a thing of beauty. Luckily we will have 130 fantastic little artists on site to get us underway!