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  • Writer's pictureThe Beagle

Bodalla Public School celebrates 150 years June 30th

In 2010 Bodalla celebrated 150 years since Thomas Sutcliffe Mort purchased over 13,000 acres in 1860 and established the Bodalla Estate.

The Bodalla village (in present location) was constructed in 1870 on the main southern road including a store, smithy, bakery, carpenter’s shop, company office, public hall and a number of workers cottages. The hotel was built some four years later after Mort discovered that alcohol was being consumed despite his preference for prohibition.

The Bodalla School first operated in 1867 at Comerang Farm and eventually in 1878 after a number of schooling arrangements had been trialed the Bodalla Public School was completed. The Bodalla Public School with residence (as in the photos) was built by the Council of Education on five acres on Eurobodalla Road given by Thomas Mort. It recognised the Estate’s growing population in the 1870s and the founding of the new village. Mort insisted the school be large and well built and agreed to pay any cost over £1,000. It is a weatherboard building nogged inside with stone on local slate foundations. It was completed in June 1878. (Taken from ‘A Short History of the Bodalla Public School – Centenary – 8 July 1867’, published by Bodalla Public School.).

Mort's home at Bodalla Comerang. Photo Mort family collection. The 1867 school room was apparently part of the Comerang complex, possibly the long part of the building on the right. From Laurelle Pacey's book...Bodalla and the Morts "The house included a schoolroom with a low ceiling and deep leaded windows. It is not clear whether this was the same ‘neatly furnished hall’ in the centre of the house used as place of worship for Anglicans on the Estate before All Saints was built. It could hold up to 100 people and was ‘fitted up with pulpit, and having a harmonium and a nice choir’.[1] [1] Special Correspondent, Town and Country Journal, 28 October 1871, p.545; The Editor, Sydney Mail, 13 February 1875, p. 198

Above: This photo clearly states 1877. Possibly that was when the building was commenced...Photo Mort family collection.

Copies of Bodalla and the Morts can be purchased from Moruya Bookshop, Bodalla Dairy Shed, Bodalla Bakery, Bodalla Motorcycles and Power Equipment, Narooma Newsagency, and Narooma Visitors Centre, or on online at

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