School History


The Need to Establish a School at Rosebud

Finally residents had success as the Education Department, through Inspector Craig, conceded that “in view of the large number of young children I think a school should be built in Rosebud”. A decision was made in July 1884 to lease the Mechanics Institute to be used as a school for the sum of £8.00 per annum. A head teacher was appointed and the school opened in September 4, 1884. The head teacher was Mr John Rowe and 37 students attended; 21 of these having transferred from Dromana State School. The Mechanics Institute building proved to be far from ideal. Problems encountered included windows that wouldn’t open, inefficient ventilators in the roof and lack of spouting to collect rainwater for the tanks. There were also disputes about the cleaning of the building and doubts that the lease would be renewed.
These problems experienced with the use of the Mechanics Institute as a school building caused the parents to urge the Education Department to build a school building on land of its own. In 1886 the Department purchased 2 acres of land on the Main Road opposite the Mechanics Institute. The cost of this land was £20 per acre. The Education Department announced in November 1886 that a school house with a teacher’s residence attached would be built on the recently acquired land. The plan of this building was the standard design being built throughout Victoria in this era. It consisted of a 24 foot by 16 foot school room with iron gable roof and a small gabled front porch. A four-roomed teacher’s residence was attached running at right angles to the school room. A skillion verandah ran the length of the dwelling. The whole building was clad in weatherboards.On April 7th, 1887 the school furniture was moved from the leased building and placed in the new schoolhouse. Presumably the Head Teacher, Mr Joseph Hazeldine, moved into the residence. He had four school-age children of his own enrolled at the school. About this time, wandering cattle were a problem because they liked to sleep the night in the shelter of the school building. The school site was bare of vegetation and Mr Hazeldine promised to plant shelter trees if the Department would fence the property to keep out the cattle. In 1888 a split post fence with three rails was built around the school site. It had a large and small gate facing the Main Road and cost £26, half of which was paid with local funds. A large rotting stump of a cypress tree just inside the front fence is all that remains of Mr Hazeldine’s “shelter” trees. Head teacher Mr Frederick Green, who had arrived in 1891, found the school residence to be a little small for his family of six children. He requested an addition be made to the house but this was not done. By May 1893 the school had 40 pupils. Many were children from the lighthouse keepers’ families who lived in the cottages near the Eastern light at McCrae. Land subdivision in the Rosebud area made building blocks available and additional families settled in the area. Rosebud State School, number 2627, was served by a number of Head Teachers over the years and when war broke out in 1914 Mr Charles Perrin was in charge. He volunteered for war service in the last term of 1915 and was replaced as Head Teacher by Mr Andrew Allingham who was to stay on as Head Teacher until the end of 1927. Local men who joined the Army are listed on the 1914-18 Honour Roll which has been kept at the school. For many years it hung over the fireplace in Room 2 but is now mounted on the wall outside the office. Mr Charles Perrin, the former Head Teacher, was killed in action in 1918. In 1920 the school had 56 children enrolled. They were all accommodated in the 24ft x 16ft schoolroom. Letters were sent to the Education Department requesting a larger room. Finally, in 1922, the Minister of Education informed the committee that tenders would be called for the erection of a new school building at Rosebud. Mr Hyslop gained the contract to build a concrete building compromising a schoolroom measuring 31ft 6 inches by 24ft with an entrance porch, cloakroom and a small storeroom. The cost of this contract was £1,930 10s which included remodeling of the original building to convert the former school room in to part of the Head Teacher’s residence. The new school building was opened on Friday, February 29th, 1924 by Mr Frank Tate who was Director of Education at the time. In running his school the Head Teacher was assisted by a junior teacher. They the taught eight grades who sat at dual desks facing the blackboard. 50 pupils were enrolled as well as the 3R’s, they had Nature Study, History and Geography lessons. The school had garden areas for both flowers and vegetables. Sport included football, cricket, basketball and swimming. There was a small shelter shed in the grounds which went from Jetty Road along Point Nepean Road to the edge of our present asphalt area and almost up to McDowell Road. A private dwelling was situated in the corner of the Jetty Road and McDowell Road. Rosebud Township continued to develop; electricity came to town 1927. A second room was added to the school and opened in 1940. It adjoined the western side of the original room and is now Room 3. By 1942 another room was needed but due to wartime restrictions it had to wait. Enrolments continued to increase and by 1944 there were 114 pupils at the school. The head teacher taught grades 5 to 8 (46 children) in the newer room, while 68 children from grades 1 to 4 were in the larger room. Parents continued to agitate for extra accommodation and more playground space. A third room, now Room 1, was added in 1945 and additional land was purchased on Point Nepean Road. A water supply service was provided to Rosebud in 1941 as the State Rivers and Water Supply Commission moved to supply water to the army establishments at Point Nepean and Fort Franklin. Although the town now had water and power it did not have a resident doctor or a police station – though both these services were available in Dromana. Mr Homes, the Head Teacher from 1940 to 1946, was responsible for introducing a “house” system to Rosebud school. There were two houses; one called “Grant” and the other “Flinders”. Some school activities were conducted as a competition between these two houses.

Post War Development

As the Rosebud township developed after the end of World War Two so too did the school. In 1947 an army hut was positioned on the upper level of the school grounds and converted into classrooms and office space. The following year another was brought in to be used as classrooms. Although only meant to be temporary accommodation they remained in use for 20 years. By March of 1952 the school had 261 pupils in attendance. During this year two classrooms were built on the upper level. These were the current rooms 4 and 5 and were built in the style that the Public Works Department called “Light Timber Construction”. In 1954 Rosebud High School opened which meant that the state school would not have to cater for Grades 7 and 8 pupils again. During 1959 the enrolment passed 400 and over crowding was again a problem. A class of grade four children had to be taught in a nearby Ballroom, while two more rooms were being built.

The 60’s

In 1962 another room was added to the top building making five classrooms altogether in that building. Rosebud township underwent a major change in 1963 when the Nepean Highway was duplicated between Adams Avenue and Third Avenue. This meant the Rosebud oval was reduced in size to become the “Village Green” we have today and the large circular cypress trees had to be removed to create car parking spaces in the median strip. The following year, 1964, was important in the school’s history as five classrooms, a staffroom and office were added to the complex on the upper level. The two “temporary” army huts were sold for £25 each and removed to local farms.
The 60's - 90's READ MORE
The 1966s At this stage the school did not have a library and Mr John Lee, the headmaster, suggested to the School Committee that this was badly needed. The Education Department would provide a grant of $6000 towards the cost of a library. With support from local organisations and through special fundraising events the school collected the balance of the $9630 needed for the construction. Building commenced in February 1968 and was completed by the end of April. It was officially opened in November 1968 and in named in Mr Lee’s honour. The library was renovated and extended in 1995. The school population reached 500 in 1968 and three more classrooms were constructed. The 1970’s In 1974 two significant events occurred. The new head teacher Mr. Murray Baud decided not to live in the residence which had deteriorated over the years. This was the first time since it was built in 1886 that the head teacher had not lived in the “school house”. Also in 1974 the first “portable” classroom arrived at the school. More portables arrived in 1975. Eventually there were to be seven of these single classrooms clustered around the “old building” on the lower level. Three were on the oval on the western side and four were on the eastern side. In 1976 the old school house was demolished to create much needed playing space. The basketball court in the Jetty Road corner is constructed on the land where the weatherboard building had been for 80 years. During 1977 the school organized a Jog-a-thon to raise money for an adventure playground to be built by members of the School Council, teachers and parents. The $1500 raised by the pupils paid for materials and many well-attended working bees provided the labour. Also, In 1979 an upgrading project took place at the school. This project included the construction of an Administration Area which included a Principal’s Office, a general office, store rooms, staffroom, a staff resource room and staff toilets as well as a new sick bay. This created a new front entrance to the school. In 1994 some modifications were made to the general office area to create additional space for administrative staff. As part of the upgrade two new classrooms were added to the library wing and two existing rooms were converted into a large Art room with storage space. The library wing was clad in brick veneer. Two blocks of land on McDowell Street were purchased by the Education Department to extend the playing area of the school. An old house on the property was demolished. This is the area where the infant playground and two portables are now located. Also in 1979 the school began planning for the construction of the multi-purpose hall. Plans were drawn up, a cooperative was formed and a loan obtained from the National Bank. The school was committed to paying $5000 a year off the capital for ten years and the interest was to be paid by the Education Department. To create space for the hall an old cement brick shelter shed and sports store room was demolished and the site was levelled. Retaining walls made from old electric light poles were constructed. A shelter shed was enclosed to create a sports store room. The 80’s The hall was constructed in 1980 and has been a wonderful asset for the school being used for Monday morning assemblies, physical education classes, perceptual motor program lessons, visiting speakers and shows, band practice, recitals, school social events and by a variety of outside groups for meetings. In 1984 the school celebrated its centenary. A highlight of the year was our entry in the Moomba Parade where thirty-six pupils accompanied a large model of the schooner “Rosebud” through the streets of Melbourne. In September of 1984 many special events were held to mark the 100th anniversary of the school. There included a church service, the productions of a booklet, a centenary dinner dance and a display of photographs. A bell tower was constructed but unfortunately had to be dismantled when the office was enlarged. A portable classroom was acquired in 1986 and placed at the end of the hall to serve as a Music Room. Again some of the sandy bank had to be removed and a lamp post retaining wall was constructed. The original Adventure Playground was remodeled in 1988 to meet the then safety requirements. Further changes were made to this area in 1993 when much of the wooden structure was replaced with new steel and plastic units. The 90’s The school has sixteen permanent classrooms and in 1990 a portable was moved in and placed on the upper level near the end of the library wing. Another portable was required in 1992 and this too, was positioned on the upper level. Also in 1992 the old sports shed which was once a shelter shed was demolished to clear a space for a larger shed which now houses the water safety trailer, the camping trailer, plus sports equipment and the physical education teacher’s office. One other building is the bike rack. This was built in the 50’s and apart from the erection of a fence around it in 1988 it has not changed very much. Thousands of pupils have parked their bikes there over the years. In 1994 the old pump at the back of the old building was repainted and a display cabinet mounted over it. The bore and pump were installed in the 1950’s when the Peninsula had long periods of water restrictions. The School Committee at this time wanted the pump so that the school gardens could be watered in the dry summer season. It has not been used for a long time but is an interesting part of the school’s physical history. In 1994 Rosebud Primary School became a Pilot School in the governments schools of the Future. This was yet another milestone in the school’s history. With the impetus provided by the new administration came the desire to improve the facilities for staff and pupils. In 1994 the staff room was repainted by teachers, the office area was enlarged and repainted and the front foyer was carpeted. The library was enlarged and renovated in 1995 and a meeting room was created from a storeroom; a classroom was converted for use as a computer room and many classrooms and corridors were repainted. In January 1995 the old portable used for classroom music was relocated and plans for an ambitious project to create a music room and hall stage were finalised. The extensions to the hall were to include a storeroom and new toilets. Excavations were performed in the Easter Holidays and soon after the building of three long sleeper retaining walls were started. This created the site where the hall would be enlarged. As part of this work all the older lamp-post retaining walls were removed and the shape of the hill behind the hall was dramatically altered. In 1996 the music room and large stage were constructed on the east end of the existing hall. This was finished in early 1997 but the other parts of the extension plans were postponed for financial reasons. Continued school fundraising efforts and some most generous donations from community organisations enabled a sports storeroom and toilets to be built during late 1997. Renovations to the kitchen and storerooms will complete this project in 1998.

The last decade

In 2009 the Prime Minister of Australia Mr Kevin Rudd announced an economic stimulus plan for the country. This was after the Global Financial Crisis across the world. He promised that all school within Australia receive a new school building. As a result, Rosebud received a magnificent learning centre (BER) used for our senior students. It comprises of six classrooms and multi-purpose learning areas. This building is a wonderful resource for our school and the community. In 2014 the school embarked on another extensive building program. The Minister for Education in Victoria was Martin Dixon and he granted the school $3million to build a new Junior School and art complex. This program was coordinated by MSN and Associates with the appointed builders Lloyd Group. The ambitious program took 18 months to complete but with the wonderful community adopting the motto “short term pain long term gain” our brilliant new building was completed by November 2014. In five longs years the school has received a $6 million dollar boost to our facilities making us the envy of many other state schools.
Rosebud Primary School has made wonderful progress since the early settlers of the district struggled to gain the benefit of local educational facilities for their children over 100 years ago. The school has developed from the very basics in a rented building to the complex network of schoolrooms with modern amenities that exists today. However, the buildings are only a small part of the history. It is the human element that adds to the story. It is the pupils and their families, the teachers and other staff members that give the school its character. Despite the changes in buildings, the development in grounds and facilities and the changes of student populations over the decades the willingness of the local community to help its school has not changed. The dedication shown by members of the school community throughout its long history has always been a most significant feature in the history of Rosebud Primary School.