Dudley Public School

Nurturing Individual Potential

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School History

School History

Dudley Public School enjoys a rich history extending back to its beginnings as a small coal mining community. The school was opened in 1892 by Sir Roden Cutler.

Past Student History

A remarkable part of the school's history is the fact that it is the only school in the southern hemisphere which has two Victoria Cross recipients from the First World War as members of its alumni. Clarence Jeffries and William Currey both received a VC each for their incredible courage and selfless efforts during the Great War. 1233 ABC Newcastle has put together this comprehensive piece on Jeffries and Currey.


Captain Clarence Jeffries V.C. & Private William Currey V.C.

The Jeffries - Currey Memorial Library commemorates Clarence Jeffries & William Currey; recipients of the Victoria Cross (V.C.) who attended the school. The library at the school was opened on the 24th May 1941. On the 1st May 1976, new school buildings were erected and the 3-glass panelled bookcase which originally housed the school library was rededicated

Clarence Smith Jeffries V.C, (26 October 1894 – 12 October 1917) was an Australian recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest decoration for ”Gallantry in the face of the Enemy" that can be awarded to members of the British and Commonwealth armed forces. He was posthumously decorated with the Victoria Cross following his actions in the First Battle of Passchendaele during the First World War, in which he led several parties of men in an attack that eventuated in the capture of six machine guns and sixty-five prisoners, before being killed himself by machine gun fire.

Private Currey was awarded the Victoria Cross for "Most Conspicuous Bravery and Daring" on 1 September 1918 at Peronne, France.  He rushed a 77mm enemy field gun under heavy machine gun fire and succeeded in capturing the gun single handed after killing the entire crew. He later rushed another enemy post, causing many casualties and enabling the advance to continue.  He then volunteered to carry orders again under heavy gun fire for the withdrawal of an isolated company.

He succeeded and returned with valuable information.

He returned to Australia in March 1919 and was discharged on 2 April. He was elected to the New South Wales Legislative Assembly in 1941 as the Labour Member for Kogarah, and retained his seat until his sudden death on 30 April 1948.

Dudley Parents and Citizens' Association decided at the annual meeting to place a maple bookcase in the school corridor to house the library. Mr. Fraser, of Newcastle, is the designer and builder. The sum at £17 was passed for payment. It will be known as the Curry-Jeffries Memorial Library to perpetuate the memory of Private W. Curry, (sic) V.C., and Captain C. Jeffries, V.C., who were pupils of the school. They were awarded the V.C. is the Great War. Many donations of books and money have been received. 

Source:Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners' Advocate (NSW), 19 March 1941

Unveiling of the library memorial at Dudley Public School has been fixed for 3 o'clock on Saturday. The event is of interest to a wider field than Dudley. It is to perpetuate the memory of those who fell in the last great war, and to honour ex-students who have been decorated. On the honour-roll are the names of 94 boys who served through the war of 1914-1918. At the head of the roll, crowned by carving of the Australian coat-of-arms, are the names of the school's V.C. winners-Captain Clarence Jeffries and Sergeant W. M. Curry (sic). Both were born in Wallsend, and through their families had been connected for years with coalmining. They were among the first to enlist, and were together through the fiercest fighting on the Western battlefields in 1918.

Sergeant Curry, who now represents Kogarah constituency in the New South Wales Parliament, has accepted the invitation of Dudley Parents and Citizens' Association to attend the function on Saturday, with the parents of his late friend. The ceremony will be performed by Mr. H. L. Wheeler, a former Mayor of Newcastle. who, with the Headmaster (Mr. T. D. Colgan) and the District Inspector of Schools (Mr. J. P. Austin), was on active service for the full period of the last war. They will be guests, with other representative public men, at the ceremony. The memorial comprises a central school library, designed and erected by Messrs. Wallbank and Fraser. The library, 30ft. in length, adjoins the school. The original classes were held at Dudley.

Source: Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners' Advocate (NSW),  23 May 1941.