search web this site
Paterson River history

search web this site

Martins Creek School

remains of Tumbledown School

Above: a stone square on a hillside above Tumbledown Creek is all that remains of Tumbledown School (GPS: 32° 34.226'S 151° 39.815'E stop sign on private property).

opening of first Martins Creek School

Above: the opening of the first Martins Creek School (Maitland Mercury 23 January 1892 p6S).

site of first Martins Creek School

Above: the site of the first Martins Creek School on Black Rock Road (GPS: 32° 33.965'S 151° 38.210'E stop sign on private property but can see seen from road).

Tumbledown School was the first to operate in the Martins Creek district. It opened in 1883 on a hillside overlooking Muldoon's Flat on Tumbledown Creek (also then known as Holmes Creek). According to Kay Ingle, Muldoon's Flat had a notorious reputation:[1]

Muldoon's Flat was the site of the murder and burial of Thomas Muldoon [in 1845]. Legend claims his ghost, shrieking for revenge, rises from his stone marked grave when the creek floods. There are no reports that he disturbed the teachers or schoolchildren, but the school closed in flood time and the building stood in lonely solitude.

Tumbledown School closed in December 1888 due to low pupil numbers and it was almost three years before schooling was again available in the vicinity.

The first Martins Creek School opened as a provisional school on 25 January 1892 on a two acre site resumed from Edwin Martin's 40 acres of land. He received £15 compensation, half of what he asked for. The school was situated on Black Rock Road, as shown on the satellite image and GPS at right. With good pupil numbers the school was upgraded from provisional school to public school on 21 October 1893.

A quarry opened in Martins Creek in 1910 and the Maitland to Dungog section of the new north coast railway opened in 1911. With these and other developments, Martin's Creek became a busier place so it was decided to move the school into the village. The second school to bear the name Martins Creek Public School opened in May 1923 on the current site in Cook Street, Martins Creek.

the current Martins Creek School

Above: Martins Creek School in 2013.


1. Ingle p13, see 'references' below.


Ingle, Kay. Martins Creek Public School 1892-1992 and District. Hilldale: by the author, 1992.

For the Muldoon murder see: Ford, RL. Williams River, the Land and its People. Self-published, 1995. [The site of the murder of Thomas Muldoon is believed to be at GPS: 32° 34.252'S 151° 40.258'E, courtesy of Cameron Archer]