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Tallygarunga | The Australian Potterverse > School Information > History Of Tallygarunga

Posted by: Mousie Nov 21 2017, 10:07 PM
History of Tallygarunga
Tally has evolved a lot over the years, from a humble muggle sheep farm to the school it is today.

Original settlement
Tallygarunga began as a muggle sheep farm of the same name, established by the Simmons family in 1897. Narragyambie had not yet been founded, and the settlement was the first European occupation in the area.

Heavy bush surrounding the homestead was cleared for farming, the flat land beneath ideal for all manner of agricultural pursuits. To this day, Tallygarunga lies hidden among the bushland at the end of an abandoned-looking dirt road.
Magic of the bush
Though Gerald Simmons, his wife, and all of his children were muggles, the first of his grandchildren showed early signs of something else. Toddler Eliza was taken to numerous doctors, and it wasn't until an arduous journey to see a specialist in Sydney gave them the answer: Eliza was a witch.

Simmons did all he could to learn about this new world, and in watching his grand-daughter struggle with her abilities, became concerned that she would not have the chance to learn proper control of her magic. The nearest school for wizards was in Melbourne, an expensive and long trip at the time.

Simmons also realised that it was unlikely that he and his family were the only ones struggling with the education of a magical child. He sought the services of a private magical tutor, allocated a classroom in the homestead, and there began the first lessons taught at Tallygarunga in 1918.
Sheep to students
The property continued to operate as a profitable sheep meat and wool farm, sparking the settlement and growth of Narragyambie, until the late 1950's. The number of students increased from a handful, to a few dozen, and the number of teachers and available classes increased with it.

In 1938, Gerald Simmons fell from a tree, sustaining significant head injuries. He became convinced then that the property was sitting atop a rich vein of gold, and began tunnelling beneath the paddocks. These tunnels were later expanded into underground cellars and storage rooms, and are now known as the Eureka Underground Hallway.
Changing hands
In 1957, the number of students had grown to the point that the Simmons family was forced to evaluate the future of the property. With Gerald now not competent to run the business, and his descendants moved on to other occupations, the family chose to sell the land to the Victorian Ministry of Magic---on the condition that it continued to operate the school.

The sheep were sold, the Simmons family moved, and the school was officially opened as Tallygarunga Academy of Magic in January 1958.
The first of the extensions to be formally built on the school, Kookynie Halls, comprised the original dormitories and classrooms. A long, thin building that ran along the western border of the property, the opening of the new building coincided with Tallygarunga being brought into the Victorian Ministry for Magical Education portfolio in 1958.

Student population continued to grow, and classes became more specialised over time. When Tallygarunga hired its first Astronomy teacher in 1963, the need for a clearer view of the sky became apparent. The Southern Cross Tower was built at the far north-east corner of the school. Initially a simple six-storey tower with a classroom at the top, it was later extended in the 1970s to include a hallway and attached rooms, running parallel to Kookynie Halls from the tower to the administration homestead building.

By 1976, the medical facilities offered by Kookynie Halls were no longer sufficient to service the school. The budget available for renovations to the state-run school were fast running dry, and so was space to house and teach the ever-growing number of students.

Fortunately, the Tarnagulla family stepped in with generous donations that enabled the building of a more modern hospital wing. Kookynie Halls and the Southern Cross Tower wing were also renovated and expanded, and the Eureka Underground Hallway was made habitable.

In 1993, the ramshackle homestead that had served as the school's administration building was finally renovated. In its place, a sleeker, more modern-looking behemoth that former Tally graduates are still disgusted by. The sharp angles and darkened glass look out of place in the serene bush setting, but some parts of the wooden homestead were left behind for "character".

In 2015, the school was extended further again to include a junior school known as the Whitlam Bilby Wing. The junior program takes students from five years of age, preparing them to enter Tallygarunga.
Prior to 1958, and the support of the state Ministry for Magic, Tallygarunga was not equipped with the disaster-averting wards that other schools enjoyed. Thus, it was subject to fire, flood and other natural disasters. One fire in 1920 almost destroyed the entire farm, and the school still occasionally floods when heavy rainfall finds the gap in the barriers.
Tallygarunga will never have the prestige of the private magical academies. The school and staff take pride in that. Tallygarunga is a school accessible to all abilities, and doesn't require a small fortune for tuition. Going into the future, the school remains focused on the founding principle going back to Gerald Simmons:

Accessible, affordable education for all.

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