Former Bellevue Primary student Rita Maxwell hands over plaque honouring former headmaster

Former Bellevue Primary student Rita Maxwell hands over plaque honouring former headmaster
Former Bellevue Primary student Rita Maxwell hands over plaque honouring former headmaster

KOONGAMIA resident Rita Maxwell (92) has been living in the City of Swan since she was born in Bellevue in 1923.

She attended Bellevue Primary School in 1929.

When developer Burditt Krost was given the okay for the new development including the old Bellevue Primary School, he had no idea initially, how much the local community would be interested in the project.

But at some point this century the intersecting lives of both the old and the new came together.

Ms Maxwell said in 2004 an old plaque from the former school came into her possession and she had looked after it ever since but wasn’t really sure what to do with it, other than keep it as a memento of her old school.

“It was a great area, very lively back in those days,” she said.

Ms Maxwell left the Bellevue school to attend Midland High School, where she studied until 1939.

But she did return to Bellevue Primary School in 1953 and worked there as a cleaner from 1953 to 1978.

In that time she also bought a house in Koongamia.

Last month Ms Maxwell handed over the plaque honouring the former headmaster who had left the school to go to WWII.

“Sadly he did not come back,” Mr Krost said.

But he hopes to incorporate the plaque into artwork as part of the conversion of the old school building to apartments.

“The contribution from the Bellevue residents and Rita Maxwell is invaluable.

“I can see this being part of a modern artwork tipping its lid to the past.”

Previously known as Helena Farm, the site includes Goodchild Reserve.

This was important to Rita Maxwell because her father used to work as a stockman at the farm and later secured work in the marshalling yards.

“The family links to the area are so strong,” she said.

The City of Swan sold the land for $1.6 million in 2010 to the developer, Taliska Holdings. The land includes a 2km frontage along the Helena River.

The new development spans a 55ha site which will include revegetated wetlands, and an old farm and farmhouse. The primary school opened in 1903.

Mr Krost said the local community had brought ecological, indigenous and geographical values with their contributions to the richness of the site and offered invaluable interpretations.

Taliska Holdings released plans in 2014 which showed the old school being re-developed into 72 units as part of the new site.

The Bellevue Residents and Ratepayers Association said they believe the new development would improve property values in the area.

Mr Krost said he hoped work would start on the site in June.