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Monday, March 14, 2016

Dandenong West Primary (State) School, Early 1930's

To relieve the congestion at State School 1403, due to the rapid expansion of the town, it was decided to urge upon the Education Department the necessity for the erection of a new school in the western portion of the town. The movement was taken up by the local Improvement Association (President, Cr. E.C. Butler; Secretary, Mr. A.Branston), and as a result, in 1924 and 1925 an area of 3 acres 27 perches was purchased at a cost of £1105.

On this block in 1925, a very commodious and up-to-date brick building, consisting of eight classrooms, a teachers’ room and an office, was erected. The official opening, on August 26th 1925, was performed by the then Minister of Education, Sir Alexander Peacock, and the foundation stone was laid by the Hon. F.Groves, M.L.A.

The first head teacher was Mr. James. Hillard, who had been promoted from Head Teacher at Noble Park and who still held the position in the 1930s. At the opening of the school the attendance was 220. By the early 1930s the attendance rate was nearly 400, this was nearly double the students that the school had at the time of opening.

Near the end of 1954, Mr. Ron Macdonald was appointed Head Master. He came to a school which had 569 students in 12 classrooms, despite the transfer of 71 students in 1956, school numbers continued to rise. By 1957 there was 609 students, with classes being run in the local St Luke's Hall and within the corridors. Attendance continued to rise, with a peak of 771 in 1968 and a total of 23 classrooms.

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