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150 years: Ballarat Primary School

Learn about the history of Ballarat Primary School, one of Victoria’s oldest public schools.

Key information

Humffray Street, Ballarat , 3350
1 June 1853
19 December 1992
School type:
School number:
Other names:
Humffray Street School

The history of Ballarat Primary School

  • 1850s

    A man by the name of Benjamin Kane, wanted two national schools to open in the Ballarat goldfields.

    Ballarat No. 34 was one of these schools. It was known as Humffray Street and opened at Bakery Hill.

    The first head teacher was William H Williamson. He was at the school from 1853 to 1856. Student numbers increased over time, with daily attendance around 130 in 1853.

  • 1863

    Tents were used for both the school and the teacher's house.

    A storm blew the school down, records were lost and the tent dwelling burnt to the ground. A grant for a permanent school site was made.

  • 1870s

    The original tent school was replaced by a timber classroom.

    More properties were bought in 1874 and a new brick school was built. While building works were underway, classes were held in Alfred Hall.

    The new school opened in 1876 by the Hon. George Fincham, Member of the Legislative Assembly.

  • 1890s

    St Paul's School became an adjunct of Humffray Street. This meant that students from St Paul's had to go to Humffray Street for classes.

  • 1900s

    New classrooms were added in the early 1900s.

    In 1905, attendance reached 936 students. The school became the centre of education in Ballarat. Examinations for the 'Child being Sufficiently Educated Certificate' were held at the school.

    In 1905, the total attendance reached 936.

    Former Prime Minister, Sir Robert Gordon Menzies, attended the school in 1906.

    In the late 1900s the school ran night classes for post-primary students, which attracted children from other schools.

  • 1914

    St Paul's closed and became the Ballarat Domestic Arts School.

    Examinations for the 'Child being Sufficiently Educated Certificate' were held at the Humffray Street School in Ballarat. Post-primary classes established at Humffray Street attracted children from other schools.

  • 1950s

    In 1955, the Ballarat North Technical School was established at Humffray Street. Teachers ran classes here for 200 boys in the upstairs rooms.

    The technical school moved into its permanent home on Norman Street in 1956. The school was also used by Ballarat Girls' Technical School.

  • 1960s

    In 1965, they replaced the original slate roof with terracotta tiles. Extensive renovations to the school were completed in 1968.


  • 1970

    The name of the school changed to Ballarat Primary School in 1970. 

  • 1992

    The school closed in 1992. 

Find more interesting facts about this school

The Public Record Office Victoria (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's your turn to do some detective work. PROV currently only have paper records for this school. Take a look to see what info they have on this school.