In the early 1980s, I worked in a school in the Mallee region of South Australia. It’s the one in this picture. It wasn’t in a town – it was at the centre of a geographically huge but sparsely populated catchment area.
It had the football and cricket ovals, the tennis courts, the swimming pool and most of the other facilities for the community. Our students had done very well in the last few years’ South Australian Weightlifting Association competitions so the school had a nice collection of equipment that had come in the form of prizes.
The topic came up at Curriculum Committee, the same body that had caused me to attempt to teach Agriculture and transport 50 chickens to slaughter in my little hatchback.
“What about a gym, Adam?” This was the parent who had much of the power in the community. The football club needed a gym and, considering how much weightlifting was going on, so did the school. I had zero experience of building anything but by the end of the meeting, I was in charge of organising the work for building on to a sort of open shed to make a decent-sized gym.
Here’s the inside with the first few bits of kit in place.
This is the outside. Not big, not beautiful, but it did the job. The outside became an art project for the school.