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Schools in the Hills

School Holidays seems like a good time to talk about the history of Education in the Mundaring Shire area. Many of our local towns sprang up around saw mills that were felling timber in the virgin bush and milling it into useable products to be hauled down to the Perth suburbs or to Fremantle for export. As men came to work in this industry and brought their families there was soon need for a school which often began in a shed or rough building close to the mill with a teacher supplied by the Education Department.

Earliest of these were Sawyers Valley and Lion Mill (now Mt Helena) who shared a teacher in the late 1880s when Mrs M J Thomas taught 2 or 3 days each week at the 2 locations. By the mid-1890s both towns had their own school.

Sawyers Valley School 1920s

Smiths Mill School 1903

Smith’s Mill (now Glen Forrest) started life when, in 1877, Alfred Smith took up 10 acres of land to start a mill. In 1884 the Eastern Railway came through the middle of his holding making transport of his timber products much easier. The school opened in 1891 in a shed near the mill, later moving to designated school land nearby, firstly in a timber building which was soon outgrown and a new brick building was erected in 1897. This still stands in the middle of the Glen Forrest School site.

Wooroloo town grew around the sawmill established by James and Edward Byfield in 1891 but it took until 1896 for the Education Department to eventually appoint Miss Alice Hewitt to the newly erected school.

Wooroloo Byfeilds Mill School 1896

Chidlow’s first school opened in 1896; in Parkerville the first of 3 schools opened south of Battery Rd in 1898, later to move to Riley Rd in 1911, and eventually to its present location in the 1970s. Mundaring children were taught for nearly a year in the Hall until the school building was ready in October 1908. Darlington school began with 10 pupils in Leithdale House in 1912 before Miss Hogan had a proper classroom in Glen Rd in 1913. Greenmount pupils began their lessons in a old cottage in 1913 before a proper schoolroom was built in Marloo Rd in 1915. This remained the school for nearly 50 years before moving to its present site in Innaminka Rd and the old building became the Marloo Theatre. Swan View did not need a school until 1954 when that area became a quickly growing suburb.

Mundaring School at the Mundaring Hall 1908

Mundaring Primary School 1933

Glen Forrest School 1933


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