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Compiled for Darebin Heritage by Brian Membrey

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School 824 : Memories : 1928


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Compare the previous schematic  to a M.M.B.W. plan of 1928.

This suggests the Staff Room of the 1950s was at some stage extended south.

The 1928 plan appears to include HM (then a classroom), 5A, 4C, 5B, the store room and opportunity rooms in the front section, 1A to 2B in the detached section, although I think 1A and B also were later extended south in alignment with the front section.

The entire northern wing 3A to 4B was a later addition - this was obvious at the time - the Hotham Street facade was designed to fit in with the existing style, but the rear section was obviously newer (in fact, the northern side was the only place for "wall ball".

The southern side obviously had two extra classrooms built to connect the two sections.

That they were not part of the older building is confirmed by my memory of 6C which had the blackboard of the southern wall and no windows - obviously designed to be lit by electricity which was first laid on in Preston in 1916.

The toilet block corresponds; the function of the two small outbuildings behind the main structure is unknown, one possibly one a storage shed. and what appears to be a pipe line extending to the rear of the terraces suggests the other may have been an early staff toilet.

What is startling is that was the school after the extensions of 1920, but an Education Department publication immediately post-war classifies South Preston as a school with over 400 pupils; class sizes must have been in the 60s or 70s!

A report into conditions at the nearby Tyler Street school commissioned by the Council from the Health Office, Dr Denton Fethers in July, 1919 suggested 62 children in Grade V were crammed into a room 16 feet by 25 feet,  with gangways between desks of 12 inches instead of the recommended 36.

The combined Grades III and IV fared little better, 82 in a room of 30 by 20 feet, and Denton Fethers noted an average of 10 pupils from this class alone were absent with colds, etc. every day.

Check out

http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/127780

for the full map which extends from the Bell an Hotham streets south-east to just north of Raglan Street between Hotham and Newcastle Streets.