Strathmore Secondary College Web Site#
Prior to the establishment of the school, part of the
school site was used as as greyhound racing track, "The Napier Park Coursing Track".
Also in the general area, on the flats of the Moonee Ponds
Creek closer to the end of Woodland Street, a Racing Cycle
track was opened.
There were moves to establish a secondary school in the
area from as early as 1955. The main proponents were the
various local State School Committees. In November 1955
the Education Department asked the Broadmeadows Council
about purchasing the Greyhound Coursing Site for a School
site. This request was refused by a Committee of Council .
This Committee however did not inform the rest of the
Councillors of either the decision or the Education
Department request. It was apparent that some on Council
had other ideas for the site.
The Council in December 1955 approved the subdivision of
the site into 65 residential allotments and a Council
works team commenced almost immediately on the
construction of residential service roads in the site. The
road which enters the school from the south past the craft
block and to the library is an original road constructed
as part of this early subdivision works. The majority of
the Councillors did not know that this roadwork was
happening and got quite a shock when they returned from
their holidays to see the construction works.
In January 1956 the Education Department informed Council
that it was having a Compulsory Acquisition Order prepared
for the site. The Council having already spent a lot of
money on developing the site, took out a Supreme Court
Writ to stop the Department's acquisition on the basis of
incorrect Town Planning zoning. The dispute raged on over
a number of months with Council deputations to the
Department offering alternate sites and the inevitable
accusations of Council wasting taxpayer funds. However the
Education Department won the battle in June 1956. One
would have thought that this would be the end of the
siting dispute but it was not to be.
Although the site issue had still not been resolved and
the Education Department did not own any land or other
facilities for the school the Department declared the
school would open in 1957, appointed the first Principal,
Mr. Ken McGregor and zoned 186 students to attend the
school. The notification of the zoning of their children
to a non-existent school galvanised the parents into
action. Fearing that their children's education would be
adversely affected they met the newly appointed Principal
and formed the interim Parents and Citizens Committee.
Consequently Strathmore High School had a Parents and
Citizens Committee prior to having any students, a site or
buildings. This committee was very important in the events
that were to occur (and in the subsequent life of the
Strathmore High School (as it used to be known) was
opened in February 1957 with all classes being held in
temporary buildings. Classes were initially held at the Essendon State
School#, the Methodist Hall in Napier St, (now
demolished) and the Masonic Hall in Mt Alexander Road and
various other nearby halls. There was even reports of
classes being held in the basement of a nearby house.
Teachers were ferried between their various classes by
Despite the legal direction and the change of zoning for
the land the Council was still refusing to sell the site
to the Education Department as late as February 1957. The
Education Department at this stage were offering to pay
Council their initial purchase price plus the cost of all
development works up to that point. The dispute over
pricing continued. The Council wanted 100,000 but the
Department was only prepared to offer 60,000.
In April Council changed tack again. This time it offered
the Department land adjacent to the site, the old Cycling
track, as an alternate school site . This offer was met
with dismay from the School Parents and Citizens
Committee. The Committee fearing that a change of site
would result in delay to the construction of the school
buildings formed a deputation and met with Council to
discuss the alternate sites. This meeting ended in a
shouting match. The issue was brought to the notice of all
Melbourne residents when on the 6th of April 1957 the
Melbourne Daily newspaper - "The Sun" headlines reported
The next Council meeting on the 8th of April was standing
room only with a crowd of 500 people trying to attend.
Councillor Davey, supporting the School Committee had
given notice of his intention to put a motion that the
Council sell the Greyhound Coursing Track site to the
Education Department. The Mayor, an opponent of the
Greyhound Coursing Track site, refused to allow Councillor
Davey's Motion on procedural grounds. This prompted uproar
from the packed gallery and Councillor Davey and four
other Councillors walked out amid calls for the
resignation of the Mayor.
The Parents and Citizens held public meetings to plan
further action. The most important of the action taken was
the organising of a petition, signed by 90 percent of the
residents of Strathmore, calling for a General Inquiry
into Broadmeadows Council. The Council finally conceded it
had lost and at a special meeting on the 2nd of May agreed
to sell the site to the Department of Education.
After all this drama regarding the siting of the school,
work proceeded quickly on the establishment of school
facilities and the first stage of the building was ready
for use at the end of that first year, 1957 and classes
commenced on site at the start of 1958.
The School was officially opened by the Minister of
Education on 3rd December 1960.
Further Facilities Development
The heated swimming pool was added to the school in 1964
at a cost of 48,000 (of which only 6,000 was an
Other notable events in the schools history includes:
- Construction of the Pascoe Vale Rd Overpass (1961);
- the construction of the School Hall (1971); and
- the construction of the Library (1972).
The Tullamarine Freeway construction in 1968/69, resulted
in some inconvenience and the re routing of the Moonee
Ponds Creek with the loss of some land adjacent to the
creek. This was compensated for by extension of the
playing grounds north along Pascoe Vale Road.
The first Principal (or Head Teacher) was Ken McGregor,
who was succeeded in 1961 by James A. Barker who was with
the school for 10 years until his retirement in 1971. In
1972 David Neil Baudinette was appointed as Principal.
From the initial zoning of 168 students to Strathmore
High School in 1957 the enrolments increased rapidly. In
1958 it had 449 students enrolled in Forms 1, 2 and 3
(Years 7 to 9). In 1959 it had grown to 679 students and
outgrown its buildings, again having to resort to the use
of local halls for some classes. Fortunately this was only
short term. In 1960 enrolments were up to 920 students and
increased to more that 1000 students by 1963.
The Glamis Gazette was started by the Parents and
Citizens Association in 1958 and was continued as the
Student Newspaper. It has been notable for winning the
"Age" prize for best student newspaper a number of times.
- Much of the above information is from a booklet
printed by Strathmore High School called "Strathmore
High 25th Anniversary - March 1982" by Various Authors.
Used with permission of the school;
- "Vision and Realization", Education Department of
Victoria, 1973 on the occasion of the Centenary of State
Education in Victoria; and
- Andrew Lemon, "Broadmeadows - A Forgotten History."
City of Broadmeadows and Hargreen Publishing Co., 1982.