James Fallon was born in 1823 in Athlone, Ireland, rich farm land near the Shannon River. James was the son of James Fallon, farmer, and his wife Margaret, née Norton. He was educated at the Athlone Grammar School. On 31 August 1841 he arrived in Sydney as a bounty immigrant in the John Renwick. He farmed for some years near Sydney, then opened a store in Braidwood. In 1854 he moved to Albury and opened a general store in Kiewa Street. He was soon one of the town’s most important citizens and in 1857 subscribed £100 to a reward for the local discovery of gold.
Active in community affairs, Fallon became president of the Albury and Murray River Agricultural and Horticultural Society. In 1869-72 he represented the Hume in the Legislative Assembly. In 1872-73 Fallon visited overseas vineyards and in December 1873 addressed the London Society of Arts on Australian vines and wines.
When Albury was created a municipality in 1859, James Fallon headed the first poll with 65 votes and became Albury’s first mayor. He also became Albury’s representative in the NSW Colonial Parliament, was a strong advocate for public education and was instrumental in the founding of the Albury Model School (now part of Albury Primary School).
After the Melbourne railway reached Echuca in 1865, there was a busy steamer trade linking Albury, Howlong, Wahgunyah and Corowa to the rail head. The original Cumberoona was a vessel built at Echuca in 1866 for James Fallon.
He drove the first pile for the Union Bridge linking NSW and Victoria over the Murray River. Perhaps his biggest claim to fame was as the “wine king” of Albury. The Murray Valley Vineyard was established in about 1858 by a company of which Fallon was a director. About 1861 Fallon acquired the vineyard and soon became a successful vigneron and wine merchant as well as storekeeper. His well-known cellars in Kiewa Street were the scene of many local celebrations. By 1872 he had set up a distillery, a central depot in Sydney and cellars in Melbourne and exported wine to England, America, India, Ceylon and New Zealand. His wines continued to win prizes, notably in 1873 at Vienna and in 1882 at Bordeaux. He was also the person who proved that champagne could be manufactured in Australia.
James Fallon was a person with a strong sense of community, a vision for public education benefiting all the community, and a service to the area in public and private life. He will always be remembered as part of our school’s identity and in the history of Albury.
James Fallon died on May 26, 1886 and he is buried in Albury’s Pioneer Cemetery, just over the road from the school, and facing towards Fallon Street. He left his estate to his brother Patrick who carried on the vineyard and wine was made there by the Fallon family until the 1930s.
Click here to read the biography of James Fallon in the Australian Dictionary of Biography.
A Photo Gallery featuring the school, students and staff can be found on the photo sharing website Flickr. To access the photos, click on the following link: ANHS/JFHS Photo Gallery
James Fallon High School/Albury North High School celebrated its 50th year in May 2011. For more information, go to Reunion 2011
As early as 1954 it was realised that Albury would need a second high school in the future and land was resumed for a new school in North Albury. It wasn’t until 1960 though that a new school was officially announced. The new site was officially announced on 30th March 1960. It was established to serve the educational needs of the rapidly developing North Albury/Lavington area as Albury was expanding in that direction. It had become impossible for Albury High to cope with Albury’s increasing population and the number of students enrolling from districts around the city. The builder was H.C. Buckman and the school was planned for a future enrolment of 600 students.
January 1961 marked the first intake of students, 150 of them going into first form. Since the school buildings were not ready, they were housed at Albury High in four classrooms. The first principal, Mr T.P. Viney, together with eight teachers and 150 students spent the first six months at Albury High waiting for the first stage of the school to be completed. It wasn’t until 3rd June that the move to the new school was made. When interviewed, the Principal stated that both pupils and staff were pleased to be in occupation. On the 14th June there was a service of dedication conducted by the officers of the Ministers Fraternal.
The New School
In comparison to the school today the new school was quite small. Stage 1 consisted of part of what is now A Block. The first floor consisted of 2 classrooms, 2 special general activities rooms, separated by a sliding partition and equipped with a stage, an art room and a library. The ground floor contained a science lab, dark room, kitchen and composite needlework room. There was a manual arts block and toilet block and a canteen.
Obviously as the school grew so would the number of buildings. Stage 2 was completed in time for the opening of the school year in 1962. There were 5 classrooms added to the first floor at the eastern end of the original main building. Various administration offices were on the ground floor.
By now there was an enrolment of 320 students and the school now had a Deputy Principal, Mr Norm Hunter and 9 teachers.
The third and final stage was completed in 1963. This consisted of 3 additional upstairs classrooms at the western end of the original Stage 1, a music room and a second art room. On the ground floor there was an additional needlework room and a science lab.
Further Developments 1960s-1990s
In the 1960s a number of students travelled to school by train, boarding and alighting at the Fallon Street railway crossing. This created a problem as there was not a proper platform and there was a campaign in Albury during 1961-2 to get one built.
As the North Albury/Lavington area continued to grow so did the numbers attending Albury North High, putting a strain on the original school facilities. In January 1965 new classrooms were approved. These included a science lab, staffroom, several classrooms, study rooms and an additional woodwork room. By the time of the official opening of the school in 1967 there were over 700 students. The school motto was “Semper Maiora” – always doing better.
In October 1970 the tender was let for a new library, laboratory block. This was to become the eastern end of B Block we know today and was completed in September 1972.
In 1973 there was a fire in the top storey of B block. This damage and the time required to repair it placed considerable stress on school facilities.
By 1974 there were 1151 students attending Albury North High and conditions were becoming very overcrowded. Demountables were installed to cater for the huge increase in numbers at the school. By 1975 classes were overcrowded with some of them having to be held outside and in the hall. Teachers were even reduced to using the laundry as a staffroom.
In June 1974 building commenced on C Block comprising 14 classrooms, staffrooms and storage spaces. An additional Industrial Arts block was also built.
At the end of this building Albury North High was basically as we know it today. However over the years many smaller developments have taken place. The 3 courts of the multi-sports complex were built in 1978.
After Murray High School was opened in the late 1970s, numbers at Albury North High dropped and the school seemed to find its identity. In reports there are frequent references to the developing of school spirit. It is in this period that some major events and programmes appeared.
- The PE Display came into existence in 1978 and continues until today under the guise of the SRC Spectacular.
- Albury North High became the first school in the Riverina to have a Work Experience Scheme.
- In 1982 there was the appointment of an Aboriginal Liaison officer. It is believed that she was the first person appointed to such a position in a NSW school.
- In 1986 the school established the Terminating Year 11 class designed to give students who did not want to go on the HSC, vocational experience by returning to school while waiting for a job.
The biggest change to happen to the school since it was built occurred in 1996 with a name change. To create a very different identity and to make the school really stand out in the community Albury North High became James Fallon High. This was accompanied by a new entrance to the school, a new uniform, logo and colour scheme. The motto became “excellence in diversity”
The school continued with many successes and highlights. 1991 saw the school hold its inaugural Presentation Ball in Education Week. It has been held every year since. In 1992 the school was a finalist in the Telegraph/Mirror/IBM School newspaper of the year, winning the best photograph category. On going activities were also commenced. In 1992 Albury North High won the inaugural Rock Eisteddfod held in Albury. This success has translated itself to competing annually and branching out to compete with success in Sydney, Melbourne and Geelong. In the late 90s the microstory contest was introduced, becoming an annual event.
|Mr T. P. Viney||1961-1965|
|Mr D. Williams||1966-1968|
|Mr J. K. Graham||1969-1980|
|Mr A. McDonald||1981-1984|
|Mr B. L. Waters||1985-2000|
|Mr M. Chapman||2001-2009|
|Mrs AM Gill||2009 -2016|
|Mrs J Parrett||2016 –|