Friday, 28 December 2007

Pakenham Consolidated School

In the 1940s and 1950s there was a movement to consolidate small rural schools into one larger school. This was partly a response to a shortage of teachers, due to many male teachers enlisting during the Second World War. The War also caused a shortage of materials and labour and many Schools fell into disrepair. The Education Department decided that Pakenham would be one of the first six Consolidated Schools to be established and that all schools within 8 kms or 5 miles would be closed and beyond that, the Schools would have an option.

The Pakenham Consolidated School was officially opened on May 29th, 1951 with 258 pupils, on the site of the Pakenham State School, No.1359, in Main Street. The Head Master was Charles Hicks. The School offered classes up to Year 10 (Form 4). The schools that formed the Consolidated School were Pakenham Upper No. 2155,  Pakenham South No. 3755, Toomuc Valley No. 3034, Army Road No. 3847, Mount Burnett No. 4506, Tynong No. 2854, Tynong North No.4464, Nar Nar Goon North No. 2914, Nar Nar Goon South No. 4554, Rythdale No. 4231, Officedale No. 4242, Cora Lynn No. 3502 and Koo-Wee-Rup North (Five Mile) No. 3198. Some communities appreciated the opportunities that their children would get from a larger School whilst other parents felt the distance to be travelled by bus and the larger class sizes were a disadvantage.

The School consisted of new buildings, which at the time cost one hundred thousand pounds, and many of the old School buildings. Some towns did not realise that their School buildings would be removed from the sites and transfered to Pakenham, and thus the town would lose a community meeting place. By 1966, when the photograph below was taken, Pakenham Consolidated School had 550 primary students and 94 post-primary students. There must have been a space shortage, because my Grade 2 classes were all conducted down the street at the Anglican Church hall. Our teachers, that year, were Mrs Ring then Miss Ahern (who became Mrs Fitzgerald).


The Pakenham Consolidated School moved from its original location in Main Street to its current location in Rundell, Way in 1997.

Much of the information for this piece comes from the paper written by Ron Smith, in 1974, Consolidation, with particular reference to Pakenham Consolidated School. Copy held in the CCLC Archive. Information also taken from Vision and Realisation : a centenary history of State Education in Victoria (Education Department of Victoria, 1973)

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

So which one is you?? I have an idea, are you in the front row??

Casey Cardinia Library Corporation said...

Yes, I am in front row centre, with the name board resting on my legs.

Anonymous said...

I can remember most of these kids and name 21 of us-That's me 2nd row 2nd from the left and I still remember Debbie Adams's Donald Duck pic on her pencil tin and Ron Hermon's toy Truck and Birthday party at his house between the school and hall. Who else remembers Miss Aherns long slender fingers holding her cigarette and moisturizing her hands whilst reading stories to us.