Warrandyte High School celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2008. Secondary education wasn’t handed on a plate to this community.
Editor of The Warrandyte Diary, remembers those long, hard years of campaigning for a secondary school in the area.
Once there was only one school in Warrandyte. Warrandyte Primary on its present site at the top of the Forbes Street hill.
Children reaching the end of Grade 6 travelled by bus to Norwood High School in North Ringwood.
Warrandyte children were refused admission to Norwood, due to overcrowding. Maroondah High School in West Croydon reluctantly agreed to rescue the Warrandyte “refugees”, accommodating them–temporarily– in a tent!
A new high school had been announced for Doncaster East and it was stated that Warrandyte children would be able to attend that school. However many parents believed that “the only final solution will be the building of a state secondary school in Warrandyte”.
The proposal for a secondary annexe had been officially rejected, this despite a petition with more than 1000 signatures, several public meetings and strong support from local MPs.
By this time more than 250 children were travelling out of Warrandyte each day to state secondary schools. Many were leaving home as early as 7.30am and not returning until 5.30pm.
The Campaign continues
The first real victory was in July 1975 when the government included a new school in Harris Gully Road on the building program for the next financial year. The school was promised for the first term in 1977. It was still being called “West Warrandyte”.
Warrandyte High School opened in February 1978 in a new, improved version of the old”portables”, known as “relocatables”.
Plans for permanent buildings progressed slowly, but on April 11, 1987, the new buildings were officially opened by Education Minister, Ian Cathie.
The school, with a low key and approachable style of teaching and a strong sense of democratic principles, was already establishing a wide reputation for excellence, especially in the fields of graphic and performance arts.
Set in gardens created by parents under the guidance of local garden designer, Bev Hanson, the beautiful new school, designed by a team of top educational architects, reflected many of the principles of community education first formulated by those Warrandyte parents who had decided to take on “the powers that be” 15 years earlier.
Excerts from an article reproduced with permission
Cliff Green, The Warrandyte Diary, February 2008 Read full article