South Wangaratta State School No 1580

The beginning of education in South Wangaratta is thought to have been in a slab-walled, barked-roof hut in which Mr Murphy ran his private school. The Education Act of 1872 brought about the end of this private school and a movement was started to build a State School.

The school site was approximately four acres in size and was excised from the road reserve. The new school was completed in May 1875 and commenced operating as South Wangaratta State School No 1580, at 10am on the 15th June 1875 with 47 children in attendance. By the end of that year the number had grown to 72.

The pupil recorded as number 98, in the school register of 1876, was Stephen Hart from the Three Mile Creek. He first attended the school at the age of 17 years and within two years he was a member of the infamous Kelly Gang.

After 1876 and another substantial increase of 35 pupils, the rate of intake slowed to about nine pupils per year. Mr F. W. Powell was head teacher and held that position until 1922.

Throughout the early days the School Committee 1911, and the Ladies' Guild, 1924, (later to become the Mothers' Club) worked tirelessly raising funds for improvements. Amongst these were: a first-aid cabinet with snake bite kits, water bags to keep drinking water cool, a pump to replace to the windlass and bucket on the well, and a shelter shed in 1925. Funds were also used to distribute gifts and treats each Christmas.

Besides providing educational and social needs, the school was also the communication centre for the district. A non-official Post Office was opened in 1880 providing all postal facilities and a public telephone, except money order and banking services.
Mail was delivered from Wangaratta three days a week and there were no roadside deliveries. Postal business gradually declined with the introduction of roadside deliveries. As these were deliveries were extended there was no need for the Post Office and it was permanently closed on the 1st May 1973.

During World War I, 22 former pupils volunteered for active service and four gave their lives. Also during World War II several former pupils become members of the services and the school assisted by raising funds for war relief and purchasing war savings certificates.

Attendances at the school fluctuated in the 1930s and 1940s, but by 1955 the increase in enrolments found it necessary to provide an extra classroom for the juniors.

The decline of the old school building and the extensive maintenance and costs, saw the establishment of a new school on the corner of Warby Range Road and Gravel Pit Road. This new Wangaratta South Primary School was finished in 1985 and pupils started there in 1986. Eventually there were only 23 pupils left and in December 1988 the school was closed.

The building was transported to Glenrowan to become a part of their expanding primary school and it is still in use there today.

South Wangaratta State School No 1580

South Wangaratta State School 1913

South Wangaratta State School and Pupils 1913

South Wangaratta State School Teachers and Pupils 1932

South Wangaratta State School Teachers and Pupils 1932

South Wangaratta State School Russell Drysdale Painting

Presentation of "The Rabbiters" Russell Drysdale painting to South Wangaratta School for most improved gardens and grounds 1969 (Carlie Newton, Mr A. J. Brisbane, Gerrit Verwey)

South Wangaratta State School 1985

South Wangaratta State School 1980's