Merino State Schools No. 416 and No. 2115

Merino, S-W Victoria, Australia



In Merino three schools existed before the first State School was established by way of a lease of the established Church of England school No. 416 in 1876. This was of brick construction, situated in Maud St on the site of the present Church of England hall. The Board of Advice, established to administer schools in the South Riding of Glenelg Shire, strongly opposed the lease of the Church of England school; they considered it unsafe and capable of accomodating only 100 of the district's 209 school-age children, making compulsory attendance impossible to enforce. In response to protests from the Board, backed by large public meetings, the Department provided a new school. It was a brick room with a gallery, under which there was a 'black hole'. The school was opened on 27th of January 1879 by TYTHELEIGH MLA acting for the Minister for Public Instruction. There followed a feast for scholars and others on the 'Green' and a concert at night. The school was later extended, the gallery removed and lower windows provided. When last used to accomodate the infant grades of Merino Consolidated School in November 1956 it consisted of three rooms and two porches. Sir Leo CUSSEN, Chief Justice of the High Court of Victoria was a pupil at Merino School. He won the first State Government Scholarship awarded in the Shire of Glenelg.

Merino Consolidated School situated 1 mile N of Merino on land extending from Paschendale Rd to Casterton Rd, opened in April 1952. In 1944 while in Melbourne, Messrs E.A. DETSCHER and C. COULSON saw a film on the area schools in Tasmania. They were convinced that such a school would be ideal for Merino district. A combined meeting of district residents was called with the President of Merino Branch of APPU (C.McK. EMERSON) in the chair; also present were representatives from district school committees, the local Member of Parliament, HOLD; and the Minister of Education, FIELD. A resolution asked the Minister of Education to establish a Consolidated School in Merino. All schools except Digby supported the scheme. By the end of 1947, land had been purchased and small rural-school buildings were removed from sites at Henty, Paschendale, Glenorchy Estate and Tahara and rebuilt to provide a three-room school with Tahara as a nearby woodwork room. Meanwhile bus services were established, bringing children from surrounding areas to the existing Merino School, No 2115. In April 1952, the first pupils, Grades 5-8 moved to the new site. The school was opened by the Hon. A.E. SHEPHERD, Minister of Education on 12th of November 1954. In June 1953, a three-room Bristol unit was erected and in 1956, the N wing of six main rooms was added. An assembly hall was built in 1963. The school in Annesley St remained as the infant school until accomodation was sufficient at the new site in November, 1956. The first HT of Merino Consolidated was Ron McCOLL, well-known as a former Liaison Officer with the ABC.

An advisory Council was formed 17th of October 1952 with representatives from all contributing districts. The President, Cr. AYLMER, still held office after eighteen years. Duncan McINTOSH, a local farmer interested in the school, gave the senior boys use of one of his paddocks for a flax growing project. he was a bachelor and when he died on 29th of August 1954 his will directed that a sum of 15,000 be held in perpetuity and the income used to provide amenities for this and two neighbouring schools, Digby and Sandford. Subsequent HT's have been: A.F. BLACKIE (1955-58), L. TOLD (1959-62), C.A. MASON (1963-65), K.C. SIMKIN (1966-). Enrolment by 1969 showed a gradual decline during the last few years as soldier settler families grew up. Until 1959 the Merino Consolidated school provided courses to Intermediate standard. Children now leave at Grade 6 level, going mainly to Casterton High, or Hamilton Technical School.

Source: "Vision & Realisation", Vol 2, Education Department of Victoria.

Links to Pioneer Names at...

Carapook & Muntham : Casterton : Chetwynd : Dartmoor : Digby : Harrow & Balmoral : Hotspur :

Merino & Henty : Sandford : Strathdownie : Wando Vale


Daryl Povey

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