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150 years: Samaria State School

Learn about the history of Samaria State School, one of Victoria’s oldest public schools.

Key information

Benalla, 3672
1 July 1867
22 November 1961
School type:
School number:
Other names:
Samaria Common School

The history of Samaria State School

  • 1867

    Samaria opened as a common school.

    The first head teacher was Bryan Waymouth. The first class taught was in the house of the School Committee Correspondent Thomas Redding. He received financial aid to build a schoolhouse.

  • 1869

     The schoolhouse is built.

  • 1875

    The school added a new two-room house to the building, and a third room the following year.

    Softwood lined both the schoolhouse and teacher's house.

  • 1883

    Average attendance fell to less than 20.

    The highest enrolment before this was 50.

    The school began teaching part-time at Moorngag State School (No. 2125), which was 11 km away.

    If a teacher could not afford a horse, they would walk from one school to the other.

  • 1888

    Average attendance at Samaria and Moorngag schools was 14.

  • 1889

     Samaria became a part-time school along with Toombullup State School (No. 2891).

  • 1898

    Edward Sweeman was head teacher at this school.

    He went on to become a lecturer in history and education at the Melbourne Teachers' College.

  • 1900

    W.A. Drummond died.

    He was head teacher for over 20 years.

  • 1907 to 1914

    View across paddock of Samaria State School and teacher's residence between 1907 and 1914.
    Samaria State School and teacher's residence between 1907 and 1914. (Source: Pictures Collection, State Library Victoria)
  • 1916

    Samaria operated part-time with the Holland's Branch State School (No. 2891).

  • 1923

    A new three acre school site purchased was more central.

    The initial plan was to move the schoolhouse and house to the new site. But, the schoolhouse was damaged by ants and could not be moved.

    A new school was built instead. The school closed and reopened due to low attendance.

    The school also alternated between teaching full-time and part-time.

  • 1930s

    The full-time school closed in 1931. It reopened part-time along with Holland's Branch State School (No. 2891) in 1932.

    It taught full-time again in 1933 before returning to part-time with No. 2891 in 1934.

    In 1935 it taught full-time once more before teaching part-time with Yin Barun State School (No. 2830) in 1936.

    It taught part-time with No. 2891 again from 1936 to 1938 before closing.

  • 1940s

    It reopened part-time with Lima State School (No. 2561) in 1940.

    It returned to full-time from 1944.

  • 1961

    The school closed.

Can you help us find records for this school?

The Public Record Office Victoria (PROV) only hold historical building records for this closed school. If you have any, or if you know of any, please let us know by emailing