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150 years: Heathcote Primary School

Learn about the history of Heathcote Primary School, one of Victoria's oldest public schools.

Key information

31 Herriot Street, Heathcote, 3523
19 December 1853
School type:
School number:
Other names:
Heathcote School, Heathcote Common School, Heathcote State School

The history of Heathcote Primary School

  • 1853

    Heathcote opened in 1853. The head teacher was James Hannon. There were 60 students when the school opened. Classes were held in a tent. 

  • 1856

    A stone schoolhouse was built. It had two rooms for the teacher to live in and two rooms for the students. 

  • 1864

    Heathcote became a common school in 1864. The head teacher was J. Hughston. The number of students was growing and a church building was used as a classroom. 

  • 1869

    More classrooms were built in 1869. 

  • 1870s

    The number of students enrolled was 280 in 1872. The head teacher was David T. Manson. He had two assistants and three pupil teachers. Pupil teachers were older students who helped to teach the younger students. The old town hall was used as an extra schoolroom.

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

    The number of students enrolled in 1877 was 320. The average number of students going to school was only 182. 

  • 1900s

    Around this time, there were now only 200 students enrolled.

    Black and white photoraph of the gardens of Heathcote Primary School with the school building in the background. The garden has a picket fence and a flag pole.
    Heathcote Primary School in 1906 when it was known as Heathcote State School. Source: George W. Robinson and the State Library of Victoria
  • 1921

    Secondary classes (high school classes) were started in 1921. 

  • 1924

    A brick schoolhouse was built in 1924. It had 3 rooms. There was a bronze plaque on the wall with the names of the 121 ex-students who fought in the first World War. 

  • 1958

    Additional timber classrooms were built in 1958. Classrooms from the closed Mount Camel School State School (No. 4288) were also brought to the site of Heathcote school. 

  • 1961

    The original school building was knocked down in 1961. Two new timber classrooms were built on a new site.

  • 1965

    The number of students enrolled was only 96, so secondary classes stopped. Secondary students went to Bendigo instead. 

  • 1970

    The school was renamed Heathcote Primary School in 1970.

  • 2022

    Heathcote Primary School is still in operation.

Find more interesting facts about this school

The Public Records Office (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 is your turn to do some detective work. Take a look to see what information they have on this school.