Compiled for OzSportsHistory by Brian Membrey

Ex-CDA comments, suggestions, criticisms

 South Preston State School 824


The author's first school, South Preston, officially number 824 in Hotham Street is believed to be one of the the oldest ten continuously functioning state primary schools  in Victoria and celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2016

The image right is from a 1919 postcard and taken a year or two before some extensive additions to the school, although these seem to have between towards the rear of the building pictured.   

My recollection of some 60 years ago is that in the early 1950s, the frontage had not changed a great deal - the inset section on the right-hand side I think was extended forward seven or eight feet beyond the protruding section pictured (believed added 1902) and the Hotham Street entrance (forbidden to pupils in my time) to the left of the extension.

The additions around 1920 were probably the four room block at the back connected by a corridor which in my time was used for grades one and two; this section is the only section of the 1950s which has survived two disastrous fires which engulfed the front section.

The background of the old school comes in two sections - a history up until 1926 collated from contemporary newspapers of the time - unfortunately nothing much is recorded after this date - and some personal recollections of the school and life therein during the early 1950s   

Beyond this, there are a few fleeting memories of the Centenary, but, sadly there is nothing left of the structure of that time following a series of fires, the last, I think, occurring in 2008 and which virtually wiped out the school other than a number of temporary classrooms

But the Phoenix rises from the Ashes and the school continues to this day

Although not completely accurate as per the exact date, the school celebrated 150 years with an Open Day on 6 November, 2016 and I gather plans are in place to produce an official history - photographs already in hand date back as far as 1887 and suggest the original school was re-modelled around 1902, probably with the protruding section to the centre of the 1919 image above part of the additions

Writing on the back of the postcard from which the image was taken was actually dated 1921 and suggested that there had been additions made since the photograph was taken

From what can be ascertained, these included a new four-room block at the rear, used for many years and still today as the infant’s rooms (grades one and two in my time) and the only section still intact following disastrous fires in 1968 and 2008

Although nominally a history of South Preston, this section also includes a background of the Preston State School in Tyler Street (often in earlier days called North Preston) and a little-remembered, but significant contributor to local education, the Preston School of Design, credited with being the first “School of Arts” to operate in Victoria