Truganina State School, No. 192
Truganina State School circa 1940. The photograph is taken from the north side of the school and showing the entry porch. Coats and muddy shoes were placed in the porch.
Note the stone wall on the right hand side of the photograph. This was used to separate the girls and boys at play time.
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The Truganina School was erected by community effort in 1869. A teacher’s residence was built completed in 1870.
The earliest schools in the district were conducted in private homes where women taught their neighbours children. Two of these teachers were Mrs North and Mrs C. Cropley. The first organised public school was taught in the room of a private house north of Boundary Road, but was soon transferred to a wooden building built at the expense of Mr James Thomson, Samuel Evans and Thomas Hillman, on land owned by Thomson. Opened on the 1st April 1856 the building was 25 feet long, 12 wide and 8 feet high. It had two rooms, one the school room and the other a sleeping room for the teacher. The rooms were lined with canvas and had an earthen floor. The first teacher was Mr Samuel Hayes. He and his wife lived in the one room, and his son was born there in 1857. He continued teaching the children on Truganina until his death in 1865, during which time the school had moved to another location, and classes ended up being conducted in the Methodist Church due to increased numbers.
The introduction of the Common Schools Act 1862, together with an influx of population, prompted the need for a larger, more centralised school, and after some controversy around the site the Truganina School was erected on a site reserved from sale by the Lands Department. Contributions toward the local share of £200 were given in cash and kind. William Leake quarried and carted the basalt stone building blocks as his quota.
The new school opened on the 1st April 1869 with Andrew Hanna as head teacher. After resigning from the Presbyterian Ministry Andrew had taken up farming on both sides of the river, but was ruined by severe drought in 1867-1868. He was persuaded to resume teaching and worked at the school until 1874 or 1875. Mr Dredge, the man appointed to take his place died before commencing duty. His son acted as relieving teacher for about a year before being relieved by Mr W.T. Muir. Although originally dismayed by the quietness of his surroundings, Mr Muir remained as Head Teacher for 28 years, retiring both revered and respected in the district.
During its first five years the school had between 70 and 100 pupils drawn from a radius of five or six miles. The Duggans, Bells, and O’Donoghue’s came from near the railway line, the Hogan’s came on ponies from the Werribee River opposite Horseshoe Bend, and the Hopkins and the Thomsons came from near the Melton Road.
Working conditions at the school were challenging with 70-100 children crowded into the school room which in the beginning only had a concrete floor. The school began with no fencing and an inadequate water supply. The teachers residence left much to be desired with the school board requesting that the Minister of Instruction “cause the two back rooms of the teacher’s residence of State School 192 to be floored and the bedroom partitioned.”
As new schools cropped up after the turn of the century the numbers at Truganina dwindled to around thirty. Numbers fell again during the great depression and remained at about twenty from then on. The school building changed little. A small porch was added in the twenties, and in the late thirties a shelter shed was erected. Electricity and telephone were installed in the school and residence in 1959. The school was destroyed in the bushfires of 1969.
Green, Geo. F., A brief history of Truganina from the coming of white man to 1935, 1935.
Thompson, E.C. The history of school No. 192, Truganina, The Educational Magazine, Vol 17(10), 1960, p. 468-475.