150 years: Brown Hill Primary School

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

Key information

Thompson Street , Ballarat, 3350
5 September 1853
31 December 1993
School type:
School number:
Other names:
Eureka National School, Brown Hill Common School, Brown Hill State School, Brown Hill Primary School

The history of Brown Hill Primary School

  • 1853

    The school opened as Eureka National School.

    The building was constructed of split slabs and had a bark roof.

    The first head teacher was Spence Creeny and there were 50 children enrolled in its initial year. Creeny slept in the school until a tent was purchased for his accommodation.

    In its early years, the school faced difficulties.

    Students skipped school to go fossick for gold and the bark roof was prone to leaking during rain.

  • 1860s

    The name of the school changed to Brown Hill in the 1860s and it became a common school in 1863.

    The existing building became the lower school and another building was constructed.

  • 1876

    The ground between the two buildings had many abandoned mine shafts.

    Although the head teacher complained of the dangers, a child drowned in May 1876.

  • 1877

    A new school building was designed by Henry Bastow. It was opened by John James MLA.

  • 1950

    The largest of the original rooms was divided into two classrooms.

  • 1950s to 1960s

     Additional classrooms were added in 1959, 1963 and 1965.

  • 1970

    Student numbers had reached 260.

    The name of the school changed to Brown Hill Primary School. 

  • 1993

    Brown Hill Primary School closed when it merged with Ballarat East Primary School (No. 1998).

    This meant both schools closed, and a new school opened in their place.

    The new school was called Caledonian Primary School (No. 5384), and it opened on the Brown Hill Primary School site.

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. Take a look to see what info PROV have on this school.