The site of MHS was gazetted for the purpose of public education in 1892 when the first building was completed. More buildings were added as the school population grew, and numerous classifications were made until in 1940 it became an intermediate high school, offering classes from kindergarten to the intermediate certificate, completed after three years of secondary school. Small classes of senior students continued with two additional years to achieve their leaving certificate, an entrance to tertiary study. This school had a badge. The top scroll had plain text in capitals, Mullumbimby in gold on a white background. The bottom scroll, similarly gold on white had the motto: ‘play the game’. Inside the circle was an elaborate gold shield outline on a dark blue background. Within the shield was a monogram. A bar was added for captains and prefects.

Elements of this badge were retained in a new badge designed by art teacher Carmen Allen and introduced in 1955 for the reclassified Mullumbimby High School, with around 370 students. The badge retained the colours white, blue and gold, and the motto.

The monogram became MHS on white, the lyrebird refers to the Mullumbimby Municipal Council (1908-1980). The two other elements in the badge look to the sporting (on blue) and academic aspirations (on white) of the school. Finally, there are botanical references including bananas at the sides, pointing to local agricultural industries.

Since 1955, students have worn the badge with pride. Current MHS students are re- discovering its significance. It has an undeniable emotional and symbolic value; it represents a substantial heritage, and confirms the school as a learning institution with a strong tradition.

School Badge

Play The Game

The motto is from a poem by Sir Henry Newbolt, called ‘the torch of life’. In the first verse, the cricket match is nearing its end, players are exhausted, with just a few more runs to get, a win seems out of reach. The captain calls on his team to pull together, give a little bit more – Play up, play up, and play the game. The backdrop of the second verse is the battlefield. The situation is dire, but as morale sags and men seem defeated, the cry goes up: pull together, once more, play up and play the game.

The sentiments apply not only to the sports field and the battleground, they are also about the torch of life, the fire that keeps us going, the will that steers us through hard times, the strength that comes from working together. The motto is in English rather than Latin, as was usual at the time, suggesting Mullumbimby was ahead of its time in its choice of rallying cry.

THERE’S a breathless hush in the Close to-night –
Ten to make and the match to win –
A bumping pitch and a blinding light,
An hour to play and the last man in.
And it’s not for the sake of a ribboned coat,
Or the selfish hope of a season’s fame,
But his Captain’s hand on his shoulder smote
“Play up! play up! and play the game!”

The sand of the desert is sodden red, –
Red with the wreck of a square that broke; –
The Gatling’s jammed and the colonel dead,
And the regiment blind with dust and smoke.
The river of death has brimmed his banks,
And England’s far, and Honour a name,
But the voice of schoolboy rallies the ranks,
“Play up! play up! and play the game!”

This is the word that year by year
While in her place the School is set
Every one of her sons must hear,
And none that hears it dare forget.
This they all with a joyful mind
Bear through life like a torch in flame,
And falling fling to the host behind –
“Play up! play up! and play the game!”