When Darcy Sellars walked out of the school gates of St Brendan’s Primary School at Dunnstown for the last time on Tuesday it marked the end of an incredible innings for the Murphy family.
The family are finally out after notching up a 190 years of education at the school.
Since family patriarch Leo Murphy, 86, started at St Brendan’s in 1937 there have been 32 direct family members complete their primary education at the small school.
Mr Murphy was the eldest of six siblings, all of whom attended the school for eight years in the days when primary education was grade one to grade eight.
And when he had a family of his own, all seven of his children attended the school for seven years each.
Darcy, 12, graduated from grade six this week - the last of Leo’s 19 grandchildren to finish at the school and was well aware of the significance of the final school bell tolling on his primary school days.
Darcy, who wants to be a farmer like his pa, told his classmates that his favourite moments for the year were being voted school vice captain and being the last grandchild of three generations to graduate from the school.
“You can say its sadness, but it’s part and parcel of life – the end of an era,” Mr Murphy said. “It’s got to happen and I’ve been fortunate to be around to see it all happen.”
Darcy is also following in his pa’s footsteps, heading to St Patrick’s College next year, but he’ll be there longer than Mr Murphy who left just three months after starting when he turned 14 to work on the family’s potato farm.
The school has changed dramatically over the past 80 years but the family feeling of the school remains.
“There was a building over the other side, the teachers were all nuns and the classrooms have changed a lot. It was all basic and we started off with a slate to write on but now they’ve got computers,” Mr Murphy said.
Two of the current staff have taught all 19 of Mr Murphy’s grandchildren, and the grandchildren of some of his siblings still attend the school.
Mr Murphy’s daughter and Darcy’s mum Cate Sellars received a rose bush from the school to mark the end of the era.
“I’m really proud to be a Murphy and part of the story and history. It’s something that I dreamed and hoped for dad to actually see this happen,” she said.
Their legacy will remain at the school in the form of the school’s bell tower which Mr Murphy built in 2002 to mark the 140th anniversary of Catholic education in Dunnstown. It remains in use and will continue the close ties between the family and school.