After 150 years there are many wonderful stories to share about the students, teachers, parents and members of the community who have helped to create your wonderful school. Amazingly, some local families have attended the school for 4 or more generations, spanning both the Warreen Street and Yarrowee Street Campuses.
Did you know that when the school moved to its new home in Warreen Street 45 years ago, the former two storey school building in Yarrowee Street became a Community Centre? The Sebastopol Historical Society is one of the groups that regularly meet in the old school. Aware of the looming anniversary, several members of the society have spent months researching the school’s amazing history and produced a book called Sebastopol School Days: a history of the Sebastopol Primary School no.1167: 1873-2023.
We have interviewed former students and staff, looked through hundreds of photographs in the school archives and spent lots of time looking through old documents. It has been a privilege for us to record the efforts of a very hard working and committed community who have made every effort to provide a thorough and well rounded education for the children of Sebastopol.
The school has certainly changed a lot over the decades! When free, secular and compulsory education was first introduced and the Victorian Education Department was established in early 1873, the school was attended by children and teenagers ranging from 3-year-olds through to 16 or 17 year olds. (Secondary education didn’t become a ‘thing’ in state schools until after 1910. Kindergartens came even later). Read about the origins of the school, discover what the schoolrooms were like in the early years and what subjects were taught. Look at old class photos and read about the night school that operated in the 1870s. Catch a glimpse of some of the students and staff of the past and read a selection of their school memories spanning the decades. Discover how the innovative Warreen Street school building, with it’s amazing flexible learning areas and ‘all weather’ multipurpose atrium evolved from community consultation in the 1970s under the leadership of innovative Principal, John Stuchbery.
The book will be for sale at the school during the anniversary celebrations on the 19th and 20th of May and at the Sebastopol Historical Society Museum after that.
If you have stories, photos or memorabilia of your own that you would like to share, the historical society would be very happy to hear from you. The society’s rooms are open on the first Sunday afternoon of the month from 1 to 4 p.m. or by appointment at 185 Yarrowee Street.
Margaret Phyland and Sue Parker (authors). Sebastopol Historical Society