School to celebrate 100 years at Longburn site
A Manawatu high school is celebrating its second centenary in five years.
Longburn Adventist College had its official centenary celebrations in 2008, but this weekend the school is marking 100 years at its current location.
Principal Bruce Sharp said the school was originally located in Cambridge - it was founded there in 1908 - but moved to Longburn in 1913 for logistical reasons.
"People were moving around using trains, so this was the ideal spot in the North Island."
The school was originally called Oroua Missionary School, and students helped keep the facility running by tending to the extensive vegetable gardens, with produce sold at Wellington markets.
Initially focused on tertiary study and with 25 students, the school morphed into the integrated high school with about 300 students it is today.
Mr Sharp said the school's evolution involved more than changing names and places.
"We have changed from a little school run by the Seventh Day Adventist church for Seventh Day Adventists to a school which takes in many different Christians and is far more a part of the community."
The first building on the Longburn site had long been demolished, with the oldest surviving building built in 1923. Now the student support centre, it also houses the school's historic bell.
Parts of the Cambridge school still exist on campus, with a brick and clock from the former school brought with the students.
School archivist Sheila McNabb said the students travelled from Cambridge to Longburn by horse and cart, sleeping beneath the carts on the way. When they arrived in Longburn, they were greeted with bad news - their former school had been destroyed in a fire.
The fire had always been suspicious, as the owner of the buildings at the time never ended up claiming insurance, she said.
Mr Sharp said the school was celebrating 100 years in Longburn with a commemorative church service today.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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