150 years: Castlemaine Primary School

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

Key information

Cnr Mostyn and Urquhart Street, Castlemaine, 3450
1 August 1855
School type:
School number:
Other names:
Castlemaine National School, Castlemaine Common School, Castlemaine State School, Castlemaine Primary School

The history of Castlemaine Primary School

  • 1855

    Castlemaine opened as a national school in 1855.

    Classes were held in a tent that was erected on the corner of Urquhart and Mostyn streets.

    The tent was labelled ‘National School'.

    72 students attended (36 boys and 36 girls).

    John Miller was the head teacher and his wife, Agnes, the work mistress.

    Population growth soon made a larger and more permanent school necessary.

  • 1856

    The foundation stone was laid for the Castlemaine National School.

    The school was built in the Norman style and included two large classrooms.

    Fraser was now head teacher, followed by Main.

  • 1860s

    The school became a common school in the 1860s.

    The head teacher at the time was W Palliser.

  • 1870s

    The school was renamed and became Castlemaine State School in the 1870s.

    Attendance at the time rose to 210.

  • 1875

    The local community requested a larger school building.

    The new building was opened by the Hon. Angus Mackay, MLA, Minister of Public Instruction.

    It is still the school's main building to this day.

  • 1876

    The school became the first teachers' training school to be established in Victoria.

  • 1878

    The school had 900 students.

    Castlemaine North State School (No. 2051) opened the same year.

  • 1915

    Students outside Castlemaine Primary School in 1915 when it was called Castlemaine State School
  • 1921

    Students during class at Castlemaine Primary School in 1921 when it was called Castlemaine State School
  • 1929

    A mothers' club was formed.

  • 1955

    Castlemaine State School observed its centenary. To mark the occasion there were displays, reunions, processions, concerts and social events.

    A centenary publication was published.

  • 1968

    The school became a training school for students from the Bendigo Teachers College.

  • 1969

    Attendance at the school increased to about 237 students.

  • 1970

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

  • 2005

    The school observed its 150th anniversary.

  • 2022

    Castlemaine Primary School is still in operation. The school building built in 1875 is still in use.

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 they have on this school.