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150 years: Burwood Primary School

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

Key information

172 Burwood Highway, Burwood, 3125
15 November 1856
1 January 1990
School type:
School number:
Other names:
Wesleyan Day School, Ballyshanassy Common School, Burwood State School, Burwood Primary School

The history of Burwood Primary School

  • 1856

    Burwood opened as a denominational school called the Wesleyan Day School. It was located at Damper Creek, Nunawading.

    The first head teacher was Barraclough, but the first paid head teacher was Richard Hurry.

  • 1857

    The school received extra money for Richard Hurry's wife, Ann, to help with teaching.

  • 1864

    The school became Ballyshanassy Common School (No. 461).

  • 1865

    A new school building was built.

    The head teacher was Walter Brookes. He would stay on as head teacher for 23 years.

    Mr Brookes' assistants included his wife and later his daughters, Isabella and Agnes.

  • 1877

    During the 1870s the local population grew.

    In 1877 Nunawading State School (No. 464) closed. Miss Demsey, one of Nunawading's teachers, transferred to Ballyshanassy. It also received leftover property from the Nunawading's closure.

  • 1879

    The school's name changed to Burwood State School (No. 461).

  • 1883

    As the local population continued to grow, the school added a brick extension to house a new infant school for 40 children.

  • 1906

    The main school was extended again.

  • 1928 to 1931

    The school received more improvements:

    • school yard asphalted
    • electric lights installed
    • school bank established
    • piano and drums purchased.
  • 1932

    The Mothers' Club presented the school with a bell. This was still at the school in the 1970s.

  • 1934

    A large schoolroom, a staffroom and an office for the head teacher were remodelled, and built. A new classroom for grades 7 and 8 was also built.

  • 1950

    A new infant school was added.

  • 1952

    The school bought land next door to build a new oval.

  • 1954

    A new wooden classroom was built.

  • 1959

    Three more wooden rooms were added. The library was also opened.

  • 1960

    Attendance was up to 580 students.

  • 1960s

    Because it had a lot of students, Burwood became a ‘special class' school in the 1960s.

    By 1963, for the first time since the 1890s, the head master no longer lived at the school.

    A new arts and crafts room was built.

  • 1967

    The arts and crafts room was used in a 1967 TV film for the in-service training of teachers.

  • 1969

    Diploma students from the Burwood Teachers College also used the school.

    The number of students at Burwood fell as more schools opened around the local area. 

  • 1970

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

  • 1981

    Burwood Primary School brick building with small weatherboard annex in 1981.
    Burwood Primary School in 1981. (Source: Pictures Collection, State Library Victoria)
  • 1990

    The school closed in 1990.

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.