Strathmore

Community History

logo




 

Home Page
History Home Page

Strathmore Secondary
College

Go to 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 school).

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 taxis.

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 meeting.

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 government subsidy).

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.

Early Principals

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.

School Enrolments

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.

Glamis Gazette

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.

Main Sources:

  • 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;

Other Sources

  • "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.