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  • Writer's pictureKinglake Historical Society

Kinglake Primary School Update

Updated: Aug 26, 2023

2019 marks the 140th anniversary of the opening of Kinglake Primary School - or Kinglake State School No. 2188 as it was correctly known when it opened in 1879. It was sometimes referred to as Kinglake East State School but that was not its official title.

The records show that it had taken several years and much pleading by the residents of Kinglake to get this school for their children. Land had been selected in the area from as early as 1872 and families began to settle here from that time, clearing their land and developing farms. The first petition to the Education Department was sent in 1876 from Kinglake residents asking for a school and this was followed by further petitions in 1877 and 1878. On each of these documents, the names of the families and the numbers of children in each were listed with the following request:

"We, the undersigned Parents and Head of Families residing in the Eastern Portion of the Parish of Kinglake, beg most respectfully to call your attention to the entire absence of schools in this district. ... We beg most respectfully to attach our names with the numbers of our children eligible for tuition under the Education Act."

In 1876, ten families were listed with a total of 22 children and the numbers were similar on the next two petitions. No doubt there was general rejoicing when the school finally opened on 24th October 1879.

Original Kinglake school 1879

For over 16 years, this school was the only school in the Kinglake district. Given that families had begun to settle in the Kinglake Central and Kinglake West area from this time, they were faced with getting their children to the Kinglake school or having no schooling at all for their families. Some children from Kinglake Central walked more than 4 miles through the bush to the Kinglake school. The Kinglake West State School eventually opened in 1896 and Kinglake Central State School in 1898, again after many petitions and pleas from the parents.

Kinglake Primary School celebrated its centenary in 1979 with over 1,000 people attending the events of the weekend, many ex-students and staff returning after many years. For that occasion, a book was produced telling the history of the school's development since its opening - the many ups and downs along the way, including the first school being closed for some years in the 1880s due to too few students attending, then almost being re-located in 1897, and then the original building being burnt down in 1927.

It's an interesting story but the book has been sold out and unavailable for some years. The Kinglake Historical Society is now working with the school to have the book printed again with an update to include the last 40 years as well.

Photographs Please

We hope to include photographs of past years in the book and would be very grateful to have any copies of photographs of students or events that local families, or those once associated with the school, may be able to provide. Anyone able to assist with this may contact D. Hawkins c/o Kinglake Ranges Neighbourhood House, 6 McMahons Road, Kinglake 3763, or the Kinglake Primary School Principal, 20 McMahons Road, Kinglake 3763.

Deidre Hawkins

Kinglake Historical Society

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