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150 years: Avoca Primary School

Learn about the history of Avoca Primary School, one of Victoria's oldest public schools.

Key information

118 Barnettt Street, Avoca, 3467
1 December 1856
School type:
School number:
Other names:
Avoca National School, Avoca Common School, Avoca State School

The history of Avoca Primary School

  • 1856

    Avoca opened as a national school in 1856. The first head teacher was George Cook. George Cook built the schoolhouse himself. It was made from wood and canvas with a timber slab front.

  • 1857

    A new school building was constructed on a new site and opened in February. Classes did not start there until June when the new head teacher, J.L. Wilcox, arrived.

    By October 1857, there were 33 students enrolled (18 boys and 15 girls). 

  • 1862

    The school became a common school in 1862.

  • 1867

    There were 125 students going to the school in 1867 and the schoolhouse was over crowded.

    By 1867 up to 125 children at times crowded the schoolroom and a letter requesting increased accommodation stated that on hot days 'the atmosphere in the school-room is in the highest degree pestiferous and unwholesome'.

    This building was eventually sold to the Church of England for use as a parish hall for the nominal price of £5 for the building and £51 for the land. In 1969 a class of children again used one of the rooms of this building as a temporary classroom. It is now being used as a pre-school centre.

  • 1870s

    The school became a state school at some stage between 1873 and 1878. 

  • 1878

    A new school was built in 1878. There were around 250 students enrolled at this time. 

  • 1910s

    The schoolhouse was divided into two large rooms, and a porch and a veranda were added. 

  • 1969

    The size of the school grounds had been increased and landscaped. The school was awarded the ANA prize for 1969. 

  • 1984

    Black and white photograph of the Avoca school building
    Avoca Primary School building in 1984. Source: John T. Collins and the State Library of Victoria
  • 1970

    The school was renamed Avoca Primary School. There were 160 students enrolled in 1970. The Principal in 1970 was C.J. Tepper.

  • 2022

    Avoca Primary School is still in operation.

Find more interesting facts about this school

The Public Records Office (PROV) is the archive of Victoria's State and local government. They look after some of our oldest school records, and we can use these records to help us understand what school life used to be like.

Now it is your turn to do some detective work. Take a look to see what information they have on this school.