150 years: Grand Trunk State School

Learn about the history of Grand Trunk State School, one of Victoria's oldest public schools.

Key information

Smythesdale, 3351
1 July 1865
31 December 1928
School type:
School number:
Other names:
Grand Trunk Common School

The history of Grand Trunk State School

  • 1865

    Grand Trunk opened as a common school in 1865. Its name comes from the nearby gold mine called Grand Trunk Mine.

    The head teacher was John Berkery and 57 students were enrolled.

    The wooden schoolhouse was built on open parkland. Cattle that grazed on the parkland would shelter at the schoolhouse at night.

  • 1870s

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

    By 1875 the number of students enrolled had risen to 132 and the size of the schoolroom was increased.


  • 1888

    The school was finally fenced to keep out the cattle.

    The fencing materials came from Woady Yalloak State School (No. 2215) when it closed. 

  • 1895

    The number of students enrolled had fallen and the school had become very run down.

    The school inspector described it as 'cold and draughty', 'almost a ruin', 'murky and dull', and having 'a roof overgrown with moss'.

  • 1914

    A new school was built in 1914 and the old building was sold.

  • 1922

    Grand Trunk was unstaffed early in 1922. This meant there was no teacher at the school and no classes were held.

    A new teacher was appointed in August.

    There were discussions about closing the school but Grand Trunk stayed open for a trial period.

  • 1928

     Grand Trunk State School closed in 1928.

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.