Old School House

Rawlinna, WA 6434

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Old School House Rawlinna, WA

Rawlinna is a tiny settlement in the middle of the Nullarbor, about halfway between Kalgoorlie and the South Australian Border. It’s population is mainly railway famlies, tending the transcontinental line. From 1966 to the late-1970’s, 16mm films were screened fortnightly in the schoolhouse, organised by the schoolmaster in co-operation with Lindsay Morris, who worked for the P.M.G.(Postmaster General),(now split into Australia Post and Telestra(formally Telecom)).

Morris was the projectionist for the few years he remained in the town, organising film supply from Perth. He tells the story of one occasion when two trains were parked in the station because of a derailment along the track. The passengers were cold and tired and bored, but weeks film had already been shown and had been booked in at the railway station for return to the Perth supplier. The station master became so irritated by constant complaints from frustrated passengers that he brought the film over to the schoolhouse and begged Morris to screen it to keep the passengers happy, so it was screened three times that night before going back to Perth when the trains moved on.

Regular screenings continued until the late-1970’s or early-1980’s, when the railway houses were provided with access to satellite television. The schoolhouse building survived until it’s roof was ripped off in a cyclone in 1988. The schoolhouse building may have been rebuilt?

Contributed by David Coppock

Recent comments (view all 4 comments)

davidcoppock on April 28, 2018 at 10:34 pm

The people at Rawlinna may also have seen movies that were screened in the movie carriage of the Tea and Sugar Train that delivered food, mail, and other supplies to the remote towns on the Trans Australia railway line between Kalgoorlie(in Western Australia), and Port Augusta(South Australia), starting in 1917. Later the service(date unknown?) only ran between Cook(South Australia) and Port Augusta(Douth Australia) and ending on 30/8/1996. Some of the carriages are now on display at the National Railway Museum(Port Adelaide, South Australia).

davidcoppock on April 29, 2018 at 4:47 am

Correction, Port Augusta(South Australia), not Douth Australia.

davidcoppock on June 20, 2018 at 6:50 am

The Old School House got used for screening movies, because the new school house building wasn’t big enough for movie screenings. The bio box in the Old School House was on the verandah. Movie screenings in the Old School House started in April 1967. The Old School House was also as a church(religion unknown?), and also P&C(parents and citizens) meetings.

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