Thursday, August 24, 2023


Mackay and Whitsunday Life

Big Birthday For Little Pioneer Valley School

Pioneer Valley’s longest-established educational institution Eton State School celebrated its 140th anniversary in style last weekend, demonstrating that while it may be small in size, it’s big in heart and heritage.

A large gathering of 250 including former pupils from bygone eras and their families flocked to the historic landmark to mark the school’s important milestone.

Visitors basked in the brilliant winter’s sunshine as they took a trip down memory lane – enjoying a school tour, time capsule, performances from current pupils, a fascinating memorabilia room display, cake cutting and delicious afternoon tea and dinner.

Cake cutting featured members of the Burgess and Sutton families who can boast five generations at the school.

Samuel Levi Edward Sutton – known as Ted – was a pupil in the original Eton State School class followed by Edward Thomas ‘Eddie’ Sutton; Leslie Robert ‘Bob’ Sutton; Emily Jane Lette; Sienna Jane Lette and Maggie Jade Lette.

The Burgess family features Madeline Butt (nee Larson), Iris Frease, Margaret Burgess, Nathan Burgess, Justin Burgess, Heath Burgess, Owen Burgess and Rylen Burgess.

Eton State School opened on August 20 back in 1883 with an enrolment of fifty students.

Through the years, the school has remained on the same site.

The school stands as part of a family orientated community with strong beliefs in the role and purpose of education that the school has provided to many students over the years.

It is evident that the community holds the school in high regard with generation after generation of families attending for an education rich in old school values and academic results.

Currently the school has 24 pupils.

Last Saturday’s event proved a resounding success – thanks to the tireless work behind the scenes of a highly efficient organising committee led by School Principal Noel Reynolds, P & C president Shane Cook, treasurer Ellen Cook, Claire Cook, Emily Lette, Kate Mann, Kay Thornton, Ronda Williamson, Margaret Burgess, Joan Ruffell, Ann Lutz and Tamara Cole.

Photo credit: Chris Karas

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