St Kilda Primary School opened in January 1875. When it first opened it had 604 students with 12 teachers. In 1913, the school (then amalgamated with another primary school nearby), had over 1,269 students. Our current student population is just over 600 lovely students. Our most distinguished former student was Sidney Nolan (1917-92), one of the most famous Australian artists. Indeed, one of his famous paintings is of the school, with the school’s number (1479).
Much has been written about the history of the school and its buildings. The original building was the outcome of an architectural competition in July 1873 which led to our main building design.
The site of the school is part of the triangular St Kilda Market Reserve. It now comprises the Town Hall (1890), Holy Trinity Anglican Church and its hall, the Uniting (former Wesleyan) Church (1877), as well as the school buildings and playground. The architects of the Uniting Church, Crouch and Wilson, apparently designed its tower to closely reflect the tower of our school, which had been built three years earlier.
In 1901, our school was renovated and the tiered platforms removed from the classrooms. Internal toilets were installed in cloakrooms. New classrooms were added in 1907 and in the following year, external windows enlarged by inserting concrete lintels, classrooms were divided with glass screens and porches were sealed up. In 1914 a new, red brick Federation style pavilion-shaped infants’ building was erected, designed under Chief Architect E. Evan Smith.
During 1966-67, a new, well-graded sports oval, canteen and seven new classrooms were opened (LTC). Our Kelly-Woodford Oval is the pride of our school and is highly valued by all our community. Read the newspaper clipping from August 1966 to find out a little more.
In 1969-70, a library and multi-purpose room complex was built, then financed by a co-operative society. The school grounds were extensively landscaped and in 1989, the Children’s Courtyard between the 1875 and 1914 buildings was created.
In 2007 work began to convert the LTC using locally raised funds created our Real Life Learning Centre which meant that students were provided with a contemporary flexible learning space to match their needs. Further enhancements included the construction of a veranda and, conversion of the old canteen into a multi purpose community room. This work and the gated entrance on Dickens Street was completed using a $150,000 Commonwealth Infrastructure Grant.
Better Schools Today State Government funding in 2008 meant that we could build a big enough hall for community activities involving all students at that time. We call this the new King’s Hall. The connecting old Kings Hall has turned into a beautiful Performing Arts room, and kitchenette hosting the Before and After School Care Program. An Art room, where the old Library used to be, completes our new Performance Complex. All this was made possible through the National School Pride grant of $150,000.
In 2010 work began on our Manabi Centre which was funded by the Federal Government Economic Stimulus Package – Building the Education Revolution. Although it took a little longer to complete than expected a large cohort of excited Prep children moved in to their beautiful new space in February 2012. We now have 3 Prep classes and a Year 1 and a Year 2 class working in this space and it is an exciting learning hub for our school.
This funding also allowed us to refurbish all the classrooms and the hall area in the Junior Building (1914 building) where the Honour Board still has a proud place in the hall. We also improved access to the building by opening up one wall and building 2 sets of double doors that open out onto a beautiful decked area and stairs. We also refurbished 3 classrooms in the Main Building (1875 building). While all this was happening with the buildings we renewed our two playgrounds as well!
Although 2011 was a busy year for building work around the school we continued our work in 2012. The school Building Fund donations allowed us to refurbish the two upstairs classrooms in the Main Building thanks to the efforts of our amazing school community. Parents and staff came together during a Super Working Bee to clean, paint and re-carpet these rooms. We are forever grateful to our parent community for the time they gave up to complete that project.
2012 also saw the installation of our solar panels on the Real Life Learning Centre as part of the National Solar Panels Funding.
In 2013 grants from the Victorian Government allowed us to replace the slate roofs on both our older buildings. The LTC building was upgraded with a new roof (Victorian Government funded), new glass partitions, new carpets and all the rooms painted. We have established the library in this building and hope to maintain it with our Library Fund.
In 2014 our works continued as we completed a beautiful refurbishment of our Administration Area as well as the final two classrooms. This included increasing the size of the staffroom and creating a flexible space that supports its many uses; improving the use of space in the Office Area; restoring the original ceilings and painting and re-carpeting the entire area and improving the learning space of the classrooms by opening up the space. (You can see this great space if you watch ‘Little Lunch’ on the ABC)
We are very proud of our school and the beautiful learning spaces we have created for our children. Our attention is now focused on our outside space which includes the continued development of the Productive Garden (to include chickens as well!), the Orchard, the Frog Bog, the Japanese Garden, a Gaga pit and in 2016 the development of our natural play space, the Enchanted Garden. We continue to focus on developing this area by planning which plants will create a truly enchanted space for our children to play in.
There is always something new and exciting happening at SKPS!