• The Heidelberg National School (1849)


    In 1849 the National Schools Board in Sydney dispatched a representative, Mr. G. W. Rusden, on a journey through the Port Phillip District, as Victoria was then called, with the object of visiting communities that had no schools and of letting them know how to go about establishing National Schools. One of the places he visited was Warringal (Heidelberg) and a local Committee, or “Board of Patrons”, with D. C. McArthur as chairman, set about raising the local contribution towards the cost of a building, the National Board agreeing to subsidize locally raised amounts at the rate of £2 to £1. But money came in slowly, and when Victoria was made a separate State in 1851 only £50 had been raised and sent to Sydney, where the subsidy of £100 had been set aside by the Board.

    By December, 1852, a school site of one acre had been reserved by the Victorian Government, but the total amount available to build the school still remained at £150. However, on the 11th of May, 1853, application was made by Hugh Chambers, J. C. Aitken, and others, who had evidently take over from the original patrons, for a grant of £1,350 as a subsidy (which had now grown to £3 to £1) on £450 locally subscribed. Soon a beginning was made on the building, which was to be, in brick with a schoolroom for boys and another for girls, and with an attached residence for the headmaster. Good progress was made, and the school, or rather two schools- the Heidelberg Boys’ School and the Heidelberg Girls’ School – were opened, as has already been told, on the 8th of August, 1854, with John Hayhoe as “master of the boys’ school” and Sarah Hayhoe as “mistress of the girls’ school”.

    Heidelberg - Scots Church Jika St (opposite court) 1845

    Heidelberg 1845 – Scots Church, Jika St (opposit court)