Black Rock Primary School - Early History and The Origins of BRPS



Early History and The Origins of BRPS

Before 1851 there were few formal education facilities in what was called the Port Phillip District. Some schools did exist but in many wealthy families children were taught by private tutors.

A dual system of education operated in Victoria from 1851 until the 1862 Common Schools Act combined the National and the Denominational Boards that had been responsible for schools throughout the State.

Ten years later the 1872 Act stated that the education of children in Victoria was to be "free, compulsory and secular". The implementation of this Act from January 1873 began a new era of education in our State, but this new era had to build on and expand the Common Schools that were already in existence.

Three settlements near Black Rock that had established schools during the 19th century - Sandringham (1855), Cheltenham (1855) and Mentone (1889).

The Origins of BRPS

Under the 1872 Act communities interested in obtaining a local school could have their area constituted as a School District and elect a Board of Advice to work with the Education Department.

In 1907 such a Board of Advice was established at Black Rock and an offer was received from a local timber merchant to erect a building and lease it to the Education Department. Mr.J. Holland, the District Inspector visited Black Rock in September and reported "it will appear that the place has a fair claim for a school. There is already a compact body of parents a fair distance from Sandringham and there is every prospect of the school population increasing".


Sites in Bluff Road, Cheltenham Road and Iluka Street were considered for the school but the prices ranging from £950 to £1,100 were thought to be too high, so Mr. Holland recommended accepting an offer to lease a building for £30 per annum.

The Board of Advice in 1908 strongly urged the construction rather than the leasing of a school building as their survey showed there were 53 children of school age in the district and eight of pre-school age.

On 15th May 1908 the present site was offered to the Department for £110 by R.D. Stratford, an estate agent for the owner, Mrs. Ann Pearson. Negotiations and consideration of other options continued until a further report by Mr. Holland recommended "that a site be purchased from Mr. Stratford and a building to accommodate 75 be erected thereon".

The price of £110 was paid on 23rd November.

Sir Thomas Bent 1838-1909

During 1909 parents became increasingly impatient and deputations were made to local members of parliament and finally to Sir Thomas Bent, who promised that plans and specifications for a suitable building would be drawn up.

A contract of £568/13/10 for the erection of a new wooden school building 36'6" x 24' (11.1m x 7.3m) was let on 16th February, 1910 and on the 3rd March Black Rock State School was registered as No.3631.

Next: The First Years