Jack Russell Drive: The Story Behind

Service at its most valuable is always humble, honest and reaps benefit for the community as a whole. This rings true for the basis of Yarra’s ethos: the best things come about because of the hard work put in with the spirit of dedication, integrity, skill, and help. It echoes the traditional value of labour, and of education.

Prior to 1965 the school grounds were large and bare, a rugged paddock. A lone oak tree drew long shadows near the Kalinda Rd entrance. Blackberry bushes peppered the long fence line. There were no paved roads or footpaths. Thankfully, Jack Russell, appointed school groundsman in November 1965, was the one tasked with working with this land. This was no small feat. With limited funding, no storage facilities and his shovels, hoses etc. stored in his own station wagon, Jack took on the project with willing hands and a pioneering spirit. It was six months before Jack had a shed.

Down Jack Russell Drive still stands Jack’s shed. The School is constantly remodelled, a community growing and shifting in tune with the times. Despite this, some things stay the same. Some buildings remain unchanged. They pay homage to the original stories at the core of Yarra’s community and the work, grit and vision that built the School we know today. Jack’s shed celebrates its nominer, a friend and groundsman of Yarra since its beginning.

Jack’s grounds-work was an inspiring cross-hatch of the value of hardwork and the engagement with community. Trees, still flourishing today, on the oval bank and two Pin Oaks in the Junior School came from his own nursery. Students and parents helped him plant Eucalyptus trees along Foundation Drive. Jack worked here for over 20 years, from the years of harsh land and shoe-string resources, to the neighbourhood of buildings and grounds now, sown together by stories. Now, the School more than its former paddock, Jack Russell Drive and shed remain as tribute to the original caretaker and custodian of the School.

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