Frank Dwyer's friends told him he was mad to move from Sydney's Rose Bay to become the first principal at Red Hill Primary School in Canberra in 1960.
But Mr Dwyer was very impressed when he arrived at the newly-built school. The double-storey building was very modern, including central heating, a teacher's study in every classroom, a fully-equipped library, workshops and a dental clinic.
Historian and Red Hill P&C member Emma Campbell has spent this year uncovering the stories of Red Hill Primary School and documenting them in a book to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the school.
"There were of course a few moments that I'm sure the school would rather not happen, such as such as two students who went missing on a school excursion back in the 1970s, which caused a bit of controversy at the time and that story ended up in in The Canberra Times," Ms Campbell said.
The first day in 1960 got off to a wobbly start when 380 students filed into their classrooms to find somebody had forgotten to provide workbooks and pencils. That was quickly rectified and the school became a community hub catering for Canberra's growing population.
Jim Mitchell began as a year 6 teacher at the school in September 1960. He had been assigned the class as a 21-year-old straight from teachers' college and was their third teacher that year.
"I turned up as the third teacher, much to the class's delight because by then I believe they'd got rid of two teachers and I was the next on the chopping block," he said.
Keen to document his work, Mr Mitchell started taking photos of his class.
"For the first time I was somebody actually taking an interest in them rather than treating them as a bunch of delinquents," he said.
Mr Mitchell taught at the school until 1968 and met his wife, Margaret, who also taught at the school from 1964-65.
From the early days Red Hill Primary School was a culturally diverse place, welcoming diplomatic families, children of government workers and Defence families.
"That's something, too, that was really notable from students who contacted me to be involved in this publication; it was their constant references to having gone to school with someone who was from Lithuania or Bangladesh and how it just opened up their world and how they were so amazed by what a multicultural community this was," Ms Campbell said.
The school was involved in innovative education projects over the years.
It hosted the first bilingual French-Australian primary program in the country in the 1970s, which was later moved to Telopea Park High School. In 2006 it became the first International Baccalaureate primary school in the ACT and NSW.
A new hall and administration building and transportable classrooms were added to the site in the last 10 years.
The school's football field has recently been refurbished with a bike track installed for community use.
Current principal Louise Owens said the school had initially planned tours and events to celebrate the school's 60th anniversary but those hopes were put on hold because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We didn't get to do all those big sort of glamorous events but I think what we got out of it, I think that this magazine is worth more than any of those events for really recording the school's history," Mrs Owens said.
The publication, Open Hearts, Inquiring Minds: Celebrating 60 years of Red Hill Primary School, is available for $19 from Red Hill SupaExpress or by contacting Red Hill P&C at email@example.com.