Located at 735 River Road, Lower Portland not far from the ferry crossing. The building (2012) appears to have not been used for some time.
DEMOLISHED MAY 2015
A new School of Arts has been built at Lower Portland. The building is divided by removable partition for the purpose of holding dances. This will ‘appeal to the young folk because it has a good floor’.
Opening of the School of Arts.
It was unfortunate that the elements should have been so perverse on Monday last, a day marked by two important events. First, it was the day on which the Prince of Wales’ birthday was celebrated; secondly, it was the day set apart for the official opening of a School of Arts just erected at Lower Portland. Despite the rain, which started on Sunday evening and fell continuously through the night and intermittently on Monday, about 300 people assembled to make merry and assist in an important function in the history of the place. There were some important personages present. Lower Portland never before had so many distinguished people within its gates at the one time. Senator E. D. Millen, Hon. Joseph Cook, M.H.R., and Mrs Cook, Mr Brinsley Hall, M.L.A., Councillor Robert Lowe, J.P , Councillor H. A. Wilson, J.P., Councillor Lewis Stuart, J.P. this list is enough to show how ’toney’ the affair was. But there were others: Major Philip Charley, J.P., Lieut. R. B.Walker, J.P., Rev. Hannington, Mr J. J. Herps, J P., Mr Joseph Aspery, J.P., Mr Stanley Rickards, architect ; and last, but by no means least, there were also present respected representatives of many of the leading families along the grand old Hawkesbury River, from Sackville to Wiseman’s, and embracing the Colo and McDonald Rivers. Some of the familiar names are : Mitchell, Jones, Herps, Smith, Gosper, Law, Metherell, Watkins, Bailey, Blundell, Morris, Dunstan Brown and Noble. Senator Millen came at the invitation of our popular Federal Representative, Hon. J. Cook, and, accompanied by Mrs Cook, they motored through the mud, and reached Lower Portland soon after noon. Mr Charley, with his usual generous and obliging spirit, took a party from Windsor in his big car, including Messrs B. Hall, R. B. Walker, Moir and F. Campbell. The idea of building a School of Arts at Lower Portland originated among a few of the public spirited men of the place. The Rich family, all talented musicians, from Sydney, who were holidaying on the river in March last year, gave a concert to aid the scheme, and mainly through the efforts of Miss Ruby Rich a sum of £30 was raised in this way. This was the nucleus of a fund which grew rapidly. A concert was held later at Wiseman’s Ferry, and the good people there raised £5. The Lower Portland Progress Association was at the back of the movement all the time. Donations began to flow in. Mr Thomas Herps and Mr H. H. Watts gave £5 each, and have been made life members of the School of Arts. Mr Lowe gave a quarter of an acre of land, and the movement went along swimmingly. The building cost over £130, and half that amount was in band when building operations were started. The contractor was Mr W. H. Gosper, who wan assisted by Mr A. A. Jones, The balance of the amount required was lent by a few public spirited men, and the contractor has been paid, and a piano has been purchased. The building is of corrugated iron, and its dimensions are 45ft. x 20ft. A quite a spacious hall. Mr Stanley Rickards, of Sydney, kindly gave his services as architect. The office-bearers of the institution are: President, Mr Robert Lowe, J.P., hon. secretary, Mr H. H. Watts; hon. treasurer, Mr J. T. Metherell ; committee, Messrs R. M. Smith, O. Mitchell, Hilton Law and J. Blundell. All of these gentlemen have been good workers for the institution. Others who should be mentioned for their valuable services are Mrs Watts, Mrs R. M. Smith, Mrs Blundell, Mrs Lowe, the Misses Ruby and Lorna Lowe, Mrs Noble, Mrs Alf Watkins, Miss Smith, Mrs 0. Mitchell, Messrs M. and W. Lowe, and a number of other ladies and gentlemen who helped at the tea-meeting and sports on Monday.
THE OPENING CEREMONY was brief and to the point. Councillor R. Lowe, J. P., President of the School of Arts committee, said that they were indebted primarily to the Rich family, and especially Miss Ruby, Rich for their School of Arts. It was the usual thing, he believed, to present a key to the person who performed official openings of that kind, but they had decided to vary it and present their Federal Member with a gold medal. Mr Lowe then handed to, Mr Cook a nice gold medal bearing the following inscription : ‘Lower Portland School of Arts’ encircling the mono gram ‘J.C.’ on one side; on the other side ‘Presented to Hon. J. Cook on the occasion of the opening, 24-6-12.’ Mr Cook, looking down on a sea of open umbrellas, said he was not going to keep the people in the rain. It was with the greatest pleasure that be declared their School of Arts open, and hoped it would be the rallying point of the social life of the district for many years to come.
THE TEA MEETING. The people were glad to get inside out of the drizzling rain. All the available seats were soon - filled, and the ladies had a busy time attending to the wants of upwards of 300 hungry folks. Mr Lowe presided, and in a brief speech asked the Federal representative to address the gathering. Mr Cook congratulated the people on turning out in such numbers on a day like that. It was a happy idea to inaugurate their School of Arts, and all it stood for, on Prince of Wales’ birthday. The two events had a close connection. Here they were making a rallying point to develop the local patriotism and had built a place in which to discuss those affairs which related to the well being and prosperity of their neighborhood. That patriotism was loosely connected with the Prince’ birthday, for the welfare of the Empire was founded ultimately on the patriotism started in places like the one they bad opened that day. From that patriotism grew the larger patriotism to the State, to the Commonwealth and to the Empire. In a hall like that they could focus and develop all that was good and desirable in the progress of the district. He congratulated the people of Lower Portland on its completion, and wished the institution many years of success.
Mr Brinsley Hall offered the people of Lower Portland his hearty congratulations on the completion of such a fine hall. He looked forward to many pleasant gatherings at their School of Arts. Here the people could meet and exchange ideas on agricultural and educational matters. He was sorry that the day was so wet, and though they had a big crowd, be was certain it would have been three times as large if the day had been fine. Senator Millen said that as he came along on the other side of the river that morning he wondered what sort of a place he was coming to, but when he caught, sight of their School of Arts and saw the Union Jack floating over it, he knew it would be alright. and took the cue from that flag as to the place and the sort of people he was going to meet. And he had not been disappointed. Most of his life had been spent in country districts, and he always felt more at home among country people, for if a man wanted the real honest grip of the land, he must go to the country for it. He hoped they would develop and enlarge that patriotism spoken of by their Federal Member, and he was sure that the same Spirit which hoisted that Union Jack would not be wanting in Lower Portland if ever Australia had to make a call on her citizens. Mr Philip Charley, being called upon to speak, facetiously said he came there to enjoy himself. He congratulated them on the fine School of Arts they had built, and considered they were fortunate in having such a man as Mr Lowe at the head of affairs. They had a lovely district, and by the appearance of the young people, be judged it was a healthy place, just the place to raise young men fit to train, and learn the ideas of war fare. Australia, especially our own State, was a very valuable country. Foreign foes might be attracted to it, and if we were not ready, disaster might fall upon us. But with the patriotism referred to by the other speakers growing and strengthening always, he felt sure that if anything happened to upset our peaceful country, all the young people of to-day would be ready to lay their bones on the beach of Australia.
Before the proceedings terminated Mr Lowe apologised for Mr W. R. Webb, of Windsor, who through an accident was unable to be present, but had kindly sent along a donation.
THE SPORTS. The people then made their way to the river flat, where the sports took place, the rain continuing and making things unpleasant till 3 p.m. when the weather improved. The following were the results of the different events : Rifle match, R Simmons ; 34 entries. Old buffers’ race, 75 yards (prizes 10/ and 2/6), T M Mitchell (2 yards) 1, Joe Aspery (2 yards) 2. Seven starters, won by a breath. Potato race on horseback (prizes £2/2/ and 10/6. First heat: Arthur Metherell 1, Tom Mitchell 2. Five competitors started. Second heat, Wes Lowe 1, Mal Lowe 2. Five competitors. Final, T Mitchell 1, M Lowe 2. 100 yards handicap. First heat, S Reynolds (2 yards) i,v W Tacey (1 yard) 2. Five starters. Second heat, J O’Ryan (scr) r, S Lowe (scr) 2. Five starters. Final, J O’Ryan 1, S Lowe 2. Quoit match, prize 17/6 (presented by Mr J . T Metherell), Geo. North. Throwing at wicket. No one hit the stumps, and the prize (a box of cigars) was distributed among the competitors!
THE CONCERT. The concert held at night was well attended, the hall of the new School of Arts being packed. Mr R. Lowe presided, and the following programme was gone through : Pianoforte overture, Miss MoDougall ; song, Miss Kerr; recitation, Miss Collerson ; song, Miss Vera Mitchell ; recitation, Miss D Smith ; song, Miss Odgen ; recitation, Miss D Mitchell ; song, Mr Allan Dunstan ; recitation, Mr H. T. Smith; concertina solo, Mr E. C. Henderson, who is known as the concertina king. During the interval the seeds of the pumpkin were counted for the guessing competition. It contained 375 seeds, and the winners were Miss Collerson, of Rozelle, who guessed 371, and received tbe lady’s prize (a handbag presented by Mr W. Mortley, of Windsor), and Mr E. Douglass, of Lower Hawkesbury, who annexed the smoker’s companion, presented by Messrs Manners Bros., of Sydney. Mr Douglass’ guess was 386. There were 190 guesses. The Second part of the programme was then proceeded with, as follows: A Pianoforte solo, Miss R Smith; song, Miss Horwood ; recitation, Miss Collerson ; solo by the Concertina King; song, Miss Alyce Macnamara ; recitation, Miss T. Mitchell; duet, Messrs Dunstan ; song, Miss Ogden ; song, Mr O’Ryan. Miss H. Smith played the accompaniments. Prior to singing the National Anthem Mr Lowe thanked all who had helped in the day’s proceedings, and the visitors, many of whom had come long distances to help with their presence. He said it was pleasing for the committee to know that, in spite of the adverse circumstances, the function had been a success, and they were under a great obligation to those who had come out on such a wet day to show their practical sympathy in a good cause. After paying all expenses the committee expect to nett about £15 on the day.
From 1/1/1936 to 31/12/1961
From 1/1/1962 to 31/12/1991
Excerpt from an article published in the monthly newsletter of the Ku-ring-gai Historical Society Inc, January/February 2011, p 7 by Kathie Rieth. The topic of the article was two houses designed by Rickard in the late 1930s located in Abingdon Road, Roseville, a North Shore suburb of Sydney.
Stanley Noble Rickard was born in New Britain, a son of missionary Richard Heath Rickard, and nephew of Sir Arthur Lancelot Rickard of Arthur Rickard & Co. He studied at the Technical College under Cyril Blacket, and was then articled to George Sydney Jones. In 1904 he began his own practice. He served in the AIF, and after the armistice studied in London, becoming a member of the Royal Institute of British Architects.
Rickard’s association with Lower Portland may be explained by the fact that he had married Ruby Charlotte Chaseling in 1912. The Chaseling family had been associated with the Lower Portland area of the Hawkesbury River for over 100 years. Her grandfather James Chaseling was born at Lower Portland to John Chaseling and Ann Everingham in 1819.
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