History of Elmhurst Primary School

Just exactly when, how and by whom the first schooling took historyplace is lost in the mist of years, but we do know that organised instruction was carried out for several years in the mid 1800’s.

The first school in Elmhurst, a private one, run by Mrs Grant, was opened in 1866.  By 1864 school was held in the Presbyterian Church.  The building was hardwood with a single shingle roof, lined with pine; to a height of 5 feet.

Application was made to the Board of Education for financial assistance to subsidise fees for the enrolled 27 students.  Fees were 1/- per week for the first child and 6d for extra family members.

Attendance rolls were first marked in June 1868 and the appointment of a teacher on a contract was a Mr. James McMullen in the same year.  The Elmhurst Common School had now commenced.  A school residence was built beside the school for 35 pounds as enrolment had increased to 60.

Plans for a new school were drawn up in 1871 by Mr. White, Architect of Ararat.  The brick building cost 254 pounds.  Clay was taken from nearby paddocks for the bricks.  Construction was carried out by Mr. William Atkinson of Avoca.  Opening of the new school occurred in 1871 on its current site.

In June 1863 a library/film/projector room was opened.  This extension was added to the east end of the existing brick building.  Over recent years, slight changes have been made to the interior of the building, however; the external structures remain the same.

In 2010, Elmhurst Primary School had a refurbishment carried out under the BER scheme and now provides an office facility for both Principal and Office Manager, teacher work station and art area.

In 1978 began the Mobile Area Resource Centre (MARC), library van, which services approximately 12 schools within our Cluster and Network.  Elmhurst PS is the base school for MARC and it librarian.

Presently the school is maintaining numbers of around 16 – 20 with the support of a fulltime teaching Principal and one enthusiastic junior teacher.  Higher education is readily offered by daily bus into Ararat which has a large private and public schools and associated facilities.  At least 1500 students have been educated at Elmhurst Primary School since the 1800’s with many becoming great contributors to the local and district community.

Information from “Echoes of Elmhurst” published by Centenary and Back to Elmhurst Committee, January 1968.