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Thursday, March 24, 2016

Thomas Street, from Walker Street, Dandenong, around 1989

In 1914, a private company, "The India Rubber Gutta Percha and Telegraph Works Pty. Ltd", acquired the rights to supply electricity to the town of Dandenong and built a power house in Clow Street. In 1921, the Shire Council bought all the assets of the company, in turn transferring these to the State Electricity Commission in 1923, which, by that time was operating large new power stations in the La Trobe Valley.

The cheap and ample supply of electricity close by was one of the factors attracting new industries to the area. In December 1924, electricity came to Springvale and Noble Park. Springvale initially had 110 consumers and by 1928 there were 50 subscribers in Noble Park. The electrification of the railway line between Melbourne and Dandenong was completed by 1924, though a sub-station was not built at Springvale until some years later.

Driven by the rapid industrialisation of the area between Oakleigh and Dandenong in the early 1950s, the Education Department decided to establish Dandenong Technical School for boys in 1954. A new technical school in the Westall area, initially called Westall Technical School was to be built in 1957. This latter school, built instead in Noble Park, at the corner of Douglas and Thomas Streets (1958-9), eventually became Noble Park Technical School.

Apprentice education was a feature of the Dandenong and Noble Park technical schools during their early years. The workplace training role of these two sites continued as part of the development of Dandenong’s College of Advanced Education, later Casey Institute of TAFE and now Chisholm Institute of TAFE. However, the portions providing apprenticeship training were separated from the general secondary education sections of their original institutions.

Photo supplied by Brad Farrell.

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