The site of Gardenvale Primary School in 1860 was a quarry that provided high quality ironstone, which was a material binding for roads. In 1917, thanks to the efforts of G & East Elsternwick Progress Association, The Department of Education purchased two acres of land at the cost of £600 and decided to build a school in Landcox Street, East Brighton, to accommodate 400 – 500 primary school children.
Gardenvale, a residential area between Elsternwick and Brighton, is 10 km south-east of central Melbourne. It originated with the Garden Vale estate, a subdivision on Lempriere's Paddock (1908), in the vicinity of
Gardenvale Road between Nepean Highway and Kooyong Road.
The origin of the name is uncertain. In 1907 the railway station was named Garden Vale, presumably inspired by the market gardens in the gently undulating countryside.
In 1920, two years before the school building was officially opened, an old army hut brought up from Broadmeadows after World War 1, was set up as a classroom in St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church hall in North Road, South Caulfield. It was named “Gardenvale East Primary School” and consisted of one classroom of about 39 very young children, and the older children had to walk “6 miles” down to Brighton Primary School.
In 1922, the main school, Gardenvale Central School, was officially opened with much fanfare and celebrations and was described as a “two storied brick school, the latest thing in school architecture”. At the cost of nearly £11,000 by Messrs. Nixon & Co., nearly 540 “scholars” to Year 8, were “drawn in main from the congested Brighton, Caulfield and Elsternwick schools”.
In the absence of Lord Stradbroke, the current State Governor, Mr W. Hutchinson, ex Minister for Education, acted as the Vice-regal representative. On Saturday, July 2nd 1922, with a silver key in hand, he opened the school amid a blast of cadet’s bugles, the singing of children and cheers of parents and friends.
Speeches were made by Mr. Snowball M.L.A., Mr. Fussell, (Chief Inspector of the Department), Mr. Francis M.P. and Cr. Hall, and the Mayor of Brighton, Mr. Eggleston M.L.A. and Cr. Forbes, Mayor of Caulfield, were also present. Lady Snowball received a bouquet of roses for Lady Stradbroke, from the youngest student.
The first principal of the school was Mr. W. Stewart, who remained in
this position for 22 years. In the 1920s, when students started at
Gardenvale Primary School, their details were entered into an Index of
Registers and Cynthia D. Gwilliam was the pupil written up as “No. 1”
By 1924, the school was considered too small and an additional wing
with four rooms was built, followed by the infant’s school on another site
in 1931. "Bristol" classrooms were added in the late 1940's / early
1950's and were used for teaching Geography and French and three
re-locatables were added in 1974 for Needlecraft, Woodcraft and
Science classes. In the 1930's, the school registers became more detailed
and now included parent's occupations. In 1937, the school was closed
down for a few months due to an epidemic of poliomyelitis and the
students continued their lessons from home via correspondance courses.
In 1939, bushfires came perilously close to the school. Students went by
tram to the Brighton Beach Orphanage for cooking classes and also
walked along Elsternwick Creek to Elsternwick Primary for sewing classes.
School records indicate that by January 1931, the Infant School was
opened and by January 1936, the Central School was established.
In 1943 the school published a magazine called the "Gardy Gossip" and
when Mr. William Stewart, the first principal retired, he wrote a tribute to
the thousands of pupils who had spent their school years at Gardenvale.
By 1945 the school numbers had risen to approximately 1200 students,
spread evenly across the lower, middle primary and the central school and
in1948 the school was classfied as Special Class. Mr. E. J.Satchell, the second principal at Gardenvale Primary School, 1944 - 1948, had to re-adjust his position and Mr. H. Bretherton became the third principal and held this position from 1949 - 1951.
In 1974, Fryerstown School near Castlemaine was leased and opened as the official school camp and remained so for more than 25 years.
Phys. Ed Class
First School Photo - School of 1921
Official Opening of The School 1922
Gardenvale Primary School 1922