It started at the baptismal font, for it is there that believing parents have their children baptised and make promises, with God as witness, to instruct the children in “the aforesaid doctrine and cause them to be instructed therein”. This vow has always been taken seriously and the need for God centred education and the subsequent formation of the Free Reformed School Association was the result.
It was with this baptismal promise in mind that some prospective dutch migrants during 1948 - 1950 came together to discuss their plans to migrate to Australia. Information received from Australia concerning the churches was not very encouraging: it indicated that institution of a Free Reformed Church would be necessary if they were to preserve their heritage.
When this stream of newcomers set foot on Australian soil it was not foremost “to get rich quick”, but to settle in this country and remain faithful to God's Word and the confessions based on this Word. On this basis, the Free Reformed Church of Armadale was instituted. Financially, much was asked from the members to maintain the church and also in saving for the calling of a pastor. But of course, this did not solve the obligation to the convental promise of God centred education of their children.
The Armadale Free Reformed Church - Adults Association was formed on 7th April 1952. The aim of the association was to assist the parents with the task to educate their children in the “aforesaid doctrine”, and to realise this aim, the following three aspects were investigated:
- Youth Bible Study Clubs
- Establishment of a Free Reformed School
- The operation of a Free Reformed library
Before the inauguration of the School Association, a collection was held throughout the Free Reformed Church of Armadale congregation and a gift of 50 pounds was also requested from all confessing members.
The general meeting was presented with several building plans. The building plans were adopted and a parcel of land belonging to the church was gratefully accepted to start the building. There was room for much voluntary labour during the construction. Even the bricks were made by members. At the end of the building project, it was a very happy congregation that saw the completed fruit of their labours on 17th November 1956. But what is a school without students? And of course, staff who were committed to Reformed Education who could teach the children.
On the day of the official handover of keys from builder to School Association, the School Board was able to appoint the first teacher, Br L Bolhuis from The Netherlands. You can imagine the correspondence that would have taken place before that appointment: the workload of the board was extremely high in those early days. Meetings till early hours of the morning were no exception, good for the chairman, he went straight to the dairy to milk the cows!
Br L Bolhuis was asked to see if he could find a female teacher to share the workload. On 26th February 1957 the board appointed Sr H Rozema, even though the treasurer confirmed that FRSA could not afford a second teacher. It was only through trust in God, that this appointment was made and praying that He would provide what was required. God did indeed provide and the FRSA was richly blessed with a school building and two teachers.
On the 1st June 1957, Br L Bolhuis was officially welcomed at Fremantle Harbour, and the 25th October of that same year the same for Sr H Rozema. Both teachers were able to teach for at the state schools for a period to familiarise themselves with the Australian education system.
Serious consideration was given to the date of the official opening and start of school. In co-operation with the Education Department it was decided to commence the school on the 2nd December 1957, nearly three years after the Free Reformed School Association was formed (20/12/1954).
The establishment of the Youth Clubs and the Library did not give a great deal of concern. Experience and expertise gained in The Netherlands was sufficient to carry out this work, but a day school was something totally different. No one had experience, neither did anyone know what the pre-requisites of the Australian government were. But in faith, this task was acknowledged and the brs. C. Kleyn, Rev FF Pels, T. Rosendaal, H.B. Terpstra, S. Visser and J. de Vos formed the working committee under the umbrella of the Adults Association. To investigate the possibilities was a mammoth task. All the members had full-time employment, spare time was limited and financially they could not afford to take time off to visit officials of the Education Department and see the Australian education system at work for themselves. As was said before, in faith it was started and it was that same faith, together with perserverance, that gave the brothers wisdom to do their work. Soon it was felt that a school committee within the Adults Association was not practical, and, hence the birth of the Free Reformed School Association on the 20th December 1954, with 31 members. Contributions were set at £1 per week. Tradesman's wages were approx £16 per week at that time.
A modest beginning was made. No opening speeches, no official parties. Only the chairman was present when 70 children crossed the threshold to the new school.
The official opening of the school took place on 12th April 1958. The honourable member for parliament - Mr G Wild officially opened our school on that day.
Since the 2nd December 1957, God centred, reformed education still continues in these very buildings that were constructed so long ago.
That too is only due to God's grace and providence over the FRSA.