Kingsgrove Public School

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Monday the 6th May 1918 marked the end of the 30 year battle for the establishment o fa public school at Kingsgrove. On this day, Mr Lobban, the 60 year old head teacher commenced the first lessons at Kingsgrove Public School. A fornight later on Saturday 18th May at 3 pm, the school was officially opened.

The first recorded "Application for the Establishment of a Public School at Kingsgrove" was made on the 18th November 1887. Mr Charles Howard, a landowner and alderman, appears to be the one person who continuously kept up the fight. His name appears on every Application for a Public School, and was also responsible for numerous correspondence to the Department of Public Instruction, Members of Parliament, solicitors and residents. The reason for refusal to establish a public school at Kingsgrove always remained much the same: "to state from the District Inspector's report upon the matter, it appears that the educational requirements of the locality are at present fully met by existing Public Schools. The Minister declines therefore to accede to the application". [1]

In December 1913 the land was finally passe over to the Department. Final victory came in October 1917 when the Department called for tenders to erect a 3 classroom school building at Kingsgrove. Hocking Bros won the contract with the lowest tender of £1,372-16-0. The building was commenced on 12 November 1917 and completed 29 April 1918, four weeks overdue, due to unavailability of timber. Classes were first held on Monday 6th May 1918 and the school officially opened on Saturday 18 May 1918.

The first building was "constructed of brick with an iron roof, and comprises three classrooms, verandah, two hatrooms and two lavatories. Accommodation 144 scholars". Expected enrolment was between fifty and sixty children; however the total enrolment at the end of 1918 was 147, three more than the children than there were seats. This unexpected rise in population proved a headache for teachers and residents for many years.

After requests for additional classrooms were unsuccessful, a reply came back on the 9 June 1920 stating that an additional teacher would start after the vacation, however no further accommodation could be supplied. The result, two classes totalling 82 children had to operate in the one room. The people of Kingsgrove had to wait until early 1923 before building commenced on additional classrooms.

The school population although not increasing as dramatically as in the early years was still on the increase. By October 1928, there were 253 children and 6 teachers with class sizes ranging from 39-49. However there were still only five classrooms. An infants block was built in 1942, enabling a separate Infants Department to be established. Further land was acquired in 1942 and 1943 and in 1947 the Department acquired by resumption 5 acres of land for the new Primary school, which was to be situated facing Kingsgrove Road, near Stoney Creek Road. The official opening of the new Primary School building took place on 27 March 1954. By this time the population of the school had reached 1230 children; 511 children in the Infants and 719 in the Primary Department.

The Primary School caught fire on 7 May 1985. For almost 3 hours about 40 fireman battled to control the blaze which started in the Assembly Hall, causing half a million dollars worth of damage.

Since 1954 the enrolment has been gradually decreasing to 1048 in 1961; 761 in 1981 and 661 in 1993. In 2016 the school has approximately 500 students across both campuses.[2]

References

  1. Tripodi, L. & Starkey, L. Kingsgrove Public School 75th Anniversary: A history of Kingsgrove Public School. 1993. p. 13
  2. http://www.kingsgroveps.nsw.edu.au/school-history/