HISTORY OF TORQUAY PRIMARY SCHOOL – Author: Spencer Leighton.
TORQUAY ELEMENTARY SCHOOL NO 3368
This factual story was researched and compiled by our Foundation Member, Spencer Leighton when our Society was founded in the year 2000. Our Society was fortunate and privileged to be allowed to access the School’s archives and scan the documentation and photos.
A photographic Exhibition will be opened at the Society rooms located at History House, 18 Pride Street, Torquay, on 15th December 2pm to 4pm, 2019. Afternoon tea will be provided.
The following is the process that our citizens of Torquay had to undertake from 1896 to 1901 to enable them to have their first school built and completed on 1st June 1910 By the Education Department.
On the 26th May 1896 A List was compiled of 22 children who would attend a school if one could be opened. A petition from residents was compiled for a school to be opened at Torquay. The request was declined. The petition was signed by T. O’Farrell, J. Brown, A. Baensch, F. Rosser, A. Payne, A.M. Millar, and J. A. Wilson. The request was declined by the Government.
On 15th October 1896 John Brown agreed to convey the children of Torquay to and from Mt. Duneed School for four pence per child daily. He told the residents that he had a suitable covered in “Hop” capable of carrying 16 children.
On 17th March, 1899 Messrs S. Ware, W.E. Edwards and E. Payne asked the Department of Education to open a school. They supplied a list of seventeen children.
On 11th May, 1899 Education Department Inspector, A. Jackson reported that Torquay’s permanent population consisted of: 1 Hotel Keeper, 1 fisherman, 1 milkman, 1 storekeeper, 1 builder, and 1 timber carrier. There were nine permanent school children and four under school age. Further there were three more children that were expected to attend school if a school were opened. He recommended that a full time school be commenced. He thought the recreation Hall might be adequate accommodation.
On 23rd September, 1900 The Torquay School opened in the Presbyterian Church Hall with sixteen children. Alice Meagher was the Head Teacher. The Church wanted 10 pounds per year rent however the Education Department would only pay seven pounds ten shillings. Alice Meagher complained that the leased building lacked ventilation in the summer, and was cold in the winter.
On 21st May 1901 Alice Meagher wanted to close the school until a stove was installed. She complained that it was so cold that the children could not hold their pens. The school was moved on 13th June to the Recreation Hall for ten pounds rent per year. A chimney was erected by J.C. Taylor.
Finally on 30th March 1904 A lease was signed by Messrs. Taylor, Gardiner, and Beales and the rent was reduced to seven pounds ten shillings per year, In August 1905, a school site was purchased by the Education Department to build a school. The site Fronting Boston Road and Bristol Road was five acres and was purchased from John Baensch and Adolph Pohl for 150 pounds.
And on 21st June Alice Meagher paid the Cobb and Co, account for five shillings to transport goods from Geelong to Torquay.
In 1908 A petition was raised to avoid closure of the School due to high rents and there was talk of building a school. But in 1909 the rent for the hall was raised to twenty pounds per year, and the Department threatened to close the school. The residents of Torquay had to look for other accommodation. Rose White was the Head Teacher of the School in 1909. She complained of other users of the Hall leaving it dirty and carelessly handling the School’s furniture.
The Department then decided it must pay the increased rent and decided to proceed with building a school.
The new school was hoped to be completed by 30th April, 1910, however it was actually completed on 1st June 1910. The last day of school in the Recreation Hall was 21st June 1910. The school building was constructed of timber and it measured 21 feet 6 inches by 20 feet. (6.10 metres by 5.