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Living Memories - Middle Kinglake Primary School 1898-2018

In November 2018, it will be 120 years since the school at Kinglake Central was opened. At that time, its official name was 'Kinglake Township State School No. 3315'. The 'township' part was used because the school was located on one of several small blocks set aside as a 'township reserve' in an early survey.

The first school in Kinglake was built in 1898

However, the name was to cause confusion when mail and parcels meant for the Kinglake State School, established on the Glenburn Road in 1879, were delivered to the Kinglake Township school instead. The local families solved the problem by using the name 'Kinglake Central State School', which made more sense, but Education Department personnel persisted with the official name until a misunderstanding over which school was to be painted in 1930 caused them to notify the two Kinglake schools that there was to be a name change for both of them. 'Kinglake Township' would become officially 'Kinglake State School' and 'Kinglake' would become 'Kinglake East State School'.

But a storm of protest from the Kinglake families, claiming that their school had been established first as 'Kinglake State School' and any change to that would be grossly unfair, resulted in the Department agreeing to make 'Kinglake Central State School' the official name for the school at Extons Road.

And there the matter rested until 1952 when another name problem arose. The Victorian Education Department at that time had established a number of Central Schools in country districts to provide the first two years of secondary schooling and it was felt that there would be misunderstanding about the function of the Kinglake Central State School.

Accordingly, the two schools were notified that Kinglake Central would become 'Kinglake State School' and Kinglake would become 'Kinglake East State School'. In next to no time, there was a protest deputation of parents from both schools to the Minister for Education. As a result, an official statement was delivered to both schools that Kinglake State School would retain its name and the school at Kinglake Central would become 'Middle Kinglake State School' and there would be no further correspondence or discussion on the matter.

The first school in 1898 was actually built by the parents who were not able to start work on it until April after the fruit-picking season was over. The building was completed in June but no furniture had been sent by the Department. A teacher, Mr Frank Tanner, was appointed and the school eventually opened on 18 November, not long before the Christmas holidays began.

The original school was replaced in 1922 with a standard Education Department single classroom building, and a second classroom was added in 1954 when there were 42 pupils attending. Due to overcrowding, some classes had been held in the nearby public hall until the extra room was provided.

In 1998, MKPS celebrated its Centenary with a wonderful weekend of activities attended by a crowd of 500 past and present students and staff as well as past and present residents of the district. From that time, the school enrolment increased to 140 students in 2009 with major development of the grounds and buildings before the bushfires.

MKPS has had a long and proud history and KHS is currently working with the school to update the Centenary History book, produced in 1998, to include the events of the last 20 years and make this publication available to all who would like to know more about the people who have worked in and supported the school at Kinglake Central.

Special Request: Many school photographs and records were lost on Black Saturday. We would be most grateful to any families who can provide any photos of classes or activities, buildings, gardens or excursions. To arrange for copying and return of these, please contact MKPS on 5786 1295 or KHS on 5786 1301.

Deidre Hawkins

Kinglake Historical Society

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