Patea District High School memorial steps

Patea District High School memorial steps Patea District High School memorial steps Patea District High School memorial steps

On 27 October 1921 Governor General Lord Jellicoe opened the Patea District High School First World War memorial. This was a memorial avenue in the school grounds with memorial gates at one end and memorial steps at the other. The substantial wooden gates at the avenue’s Egmont Street entrance had been erected by pupils of the woodwork class. The avenue was planted with gum trees on either side. It led in a gentle arc towards a flight of concrete steps that climbed a low bank towards the school. Marble plaques on the two pillars at the foot of the steps read: THESE STEPS, MEMORIAL AVENUE / & GATEWAY, WERE OPENED BY / LORD JELLICOE OF SCAPA, / OCTOBER 27TH 1922 [and] THESE STEPS WERE / ERECTED IN MEMORY OF / LIEUT. G.A. ROBBIE / HEADMASTER / AND PUPILS OF THIS / SCHOOL WHO FELL IN / THE GREAT WAR / 1914-18.

Lieutenant George Robbie had served as headmaster of the school from 1909 to 1915, when he enlisted. He was killed at Ypres on 22 July 1917. There may once have been a roll of honour at the school listing the names of the old boys who also gave their lives; if so, it has long disappeared.

Patea Primary School (which succeeded Patea District High School on the site) closed down on 8 December 2004. The school buildings were demolished in 2017. The memorial gates disappeared long ago, but the route of the long disused memorial avenue can still be traced. The memorial steps and pillars are partly hidden by long grass.

The current owner of the land, Ngati Ruanui Holdings, plans to build a food research centre at the site.

See: ‘The Governor General: Visit to Patea: Memorial Avenue Opened’, Patea Mail, 28/10/1921; ‘Notes and Comments’, Patea Mail, 31/10/1921, p. 3; ‘Patea Memorial to Fallen Soldiers’, Hawera & Normanby Star, 12/7/1922, p. 4; ‘Patea – Former High School District Steps’, Kete New Plymouth.

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