The initial enrolment was 96 with a staff of three – Ms Dale, Ms Gardiner and Ms Ridgway. Ms Milne’s first priority was to establish the school’s identity by choosing a uniform, school colours and setting up a fund. When school re-opened for its second year in January 1950, the number of pupils had increased to 155 and two more teachers were appointed.
It seems that problems existed even in those days as Ms Milne recorded that very little stationery was received and there was a delay in delivery of desks.As numbers increased, the children were housed in the rather dreadful pre-fabs which were to become common-place in Natal schools during the 1950’s and 1960’s.
At that time the site in Kensington Drive was on the very edge of Durban North development as can be seen from Ms Milne’s comment in the log books: Wednesday 7 March: Two snakes were killed in the vicinity of the school building today. I have endeavoured to keep the grass near the school fairly short and have approached the Corporation with a view to their clearing the rank growth along the Kensington Drive roadside. The rank growth at this time of the year makes the danger of snakes a constant anxiety. This problem seems to be making a come back as verges are neglected by the Municipality.
By 7 May 1951 there was sufficient confidence in the school’s future to contemplate the erection of permanent buildings. It was planned that the existing buildings would become change-rooms for the Boys’ High School which was about to be started on the site, while the Primary School would move to Mackeurtan Avenue.
Mud and dust
With the housing development going up on Virginia Estate, enrolment had now increased to 289 in January 1952 and no further children could be admitted. The staff room and head’s office were even eing used as classrooms during this time. On Thursday 17 April 1952 the Department started levelling the new site, as the school became known as Kensington Junior Government School. By October the following year, Ms Milne was able to attend the opening of Northlands Boys’ High School on its site, but the building of the Primary School was nowhere as fast, and the pupils and staff had to battle with mud, dust and many other problems. Ms Milne left the school in December 1954 and was replaced by Ms H M Knight who was able to take over the new premises on 24 July 1956.
At this point, the school changed its name to Northlands Primary School with an enrolment of 662 pupils. It continued in Mackeurtan Avenue until 1992 when it moved to the site of what had been Beachwood Boys’ High in Gleneagles Drive. This last move gave the school facilities which are the envy of most primary schools in KZN – with large classrooms and fields as well as a full size pool and tennis courts. The school now proudly accomodates just on 890 learners.
See if you can spot some well-known names: Shaun Pollock, Jean Oosthuizen, Melinda Blackburn, Susan Ferguson, Michael Allison, Warren Brosnihan, Gareth Colenbrander, Sergio da Sousa, Anthony Ireland, Kevin Johnston, David Maehler, Rowan Price, Mark Solomons, Noel Swan, Paula Bell, Gaye Crossby, Sofia Ingouville, Nina Orator, Deborah Roach, Sarah Walter, Michelle Wheeler, Cathy Woodroffe, Craig Davidson, Colin Moss, Taine Paton, Melissa and Jacqui Rankin
Ms EA Milne: 1949 – 1954 Ms HA Knight: 1955 – 1957 Mr GB Chambers: 1957 – 1965 Mr IKS Cato 1966 – 1969 Mr BP Wilson 1971 – 1979 Mr W Jooste 1979 – 1984 Mr DA Rankin 1985 – 1997 Mr MJ Sjolander 1998 – 2010 Mr BR Wilson 2011 to 2017 Mr C Naidoo (Acting Principal) 2017 - present