“Parents! For 1925 you can give your boy or girl no better gift than a promise that he or she shall have the opportunity “to make good”, and to obtain the benefits of the best education possible. You may not have had these advantages but there is no reason (except selfishness) why you should debar your child from obtaining them. Enrol your boy or girl in the Central classes for 1925, and find your greatest pleasure in watching the growth and development of your child in those matters which pertain to his (or her) highest welfare. - George Ellingsen, Head Teacher, 1923-1925”
At the beginning of 1920 Mr Henry Tysoe had left the position of Head Teacher and was replaced by Mr Ernest Wallace Mylrea. He held the position of Head Teacher from 1920-1923. The early school colours were red, brown and blue and were chosen by Mr Mylrea because they were the colours of his regiment in the army. My Mylrea also instituted the first Parent’s Day, where parents could visit the school, see the facilities and watch their children working.
He also organized a school band at Kingsville which was comprised of bugle players, drum players and marching students. We are very lucky to still have one of the original drums, which is shown in the below image.
Some years after My Mylrea left the position of Head Teacher, he visited the school to gift it a painting showing the Anzacs at Gallipoli. This painting now hangs in an upstairs corridor of the main building.
Mr Mylrea’s first impression of the school was ‘The school was on the edge of the settlement, its surroundings were primitive. The grounds were bare but the building was a source of pleasure’.
Back in 1920 the school was surrounded by farmland. A fence had to be built to keep all the horses and cows out of the school grounds. Sheep quite often broke through the fence and made their way into the school ground to eat grass and other garden plants.
Mr Jack Gainey who joined as a teacher in 1921 was astonished on his first day at Kingsville to find frogs croaking in a quarry hole at the front of school between the building and Somerville Road. One day a snake was also found in the boys toilets. To ensure no students were put at risk of further visiting snakes Mr Gainey would visit the school and surrounding areas on weekends with a gun to shoot any snakes he could see. Over two years he shot and killed 46 tiger snakes.
George Ellingsen became headmaster in 1923. Not much is known about him, however the District Inspector wrote about him in 1923, stating ‘The present head teacher has been in charge only a few weeks; already he has obtained a close grip of his school which stands high in the estimation of the local community’. Also in 1923 the school published The Kingsville School Magazine. This ran for several years and included an editorial, sports results, poems, songs, jokes and stories. It also included reports from various classes, the Junior Red Cross Society, the Old Scholars Association and the School Committee.
Swimming lessons in the 1920s were very different to what we know now. Each grade would be marched down the stairs and out to the assembly area. There on the asphalt the children would lie down and practice their swimming strokes. As you can imagine this would have been very uncomfortable.
In 1923 Kingsville competed in the annual inter-school sports gala at the Exhibition Oval in the city. The students met the sports master, Mr Gainey, at Spencer Street Station (now Southern Cross station) and then travelled together by tram to Exhibition Oval. The other schools competing were North Fitzroy, West Melbourne, Mont Albert, Collingwood and Moonee Ponds.
During the 1920s a Mother’s Group was formed to help support the school. The ran various fundraising events that raised money to buy items such as a school flag, school banner, library books, artworks, first aid cabinet, table cloths and a couch and flooring for the teacher’s room. The Mother's Group was an integral part of the school and due to their hard work and fundraising they were able to provide many items for the children that the school wouldn't have otherwise afforded. It has run, in various forms, throughout the school's history and today we would know it as parent involvement on the school council and other various school committees.
1924 saw tragedy strike the school when two students, Jack Koch and George Hatton were playing in one of the local quarry holes in Cruikshank Park and got into trouble. Jack got stuck and unfortunately drowned, despite George’s best attempts to save him.
By 1924 enrolments at the school had reached 700 students! Due to the high number of students there was a shortage of desks. Three children had to share one desk, instead of the usual two. It certainly made it difficult to complete school work. This also meant the school had to rent the local Sunday school as an extra classroom.
In 1925 shelter sheds were built in the south west area behind the main building. One faced Somerville Road and was used as the girls shelter shed. The second shelter shed was used for the boys.
In mid 1925 George Ellingsen left the role of Headmaster. It wasn’t until the 28th September 1925 that a new permanent Headmaster, Mr Corrie, was appointed.
In 1926 the school was presented with a silver cup for being successful at the Footscray District State School Sports. This can still be seen in our trophy cabinet today.
In 1926 the girls basketball team were crowned Premiers of North of the Yarra. Led by Phyllis McDonald, with Emily Ticknell and Margaret Tangey among others, the girls were awarded a small plaque for their achievement.
In 1927 a group of twelve senior girls from the school were taught Welsh folk dancing, in anticipation of the forthcoming visit of the Duke and Duchess of York to Melbourne. On the 26th of April those girls performed at the Melbourne Cricket Ground as part of a larger combined school performance to welcome the visiting royals.
The school was struggling for space in 1928 and one grade (most likely Grade 2) had to be taught in the neighboring Sunday School at St Paul's. This is the wooden church hall on Somerville Road which is now a Orthodox Christian Church. By 1929 plans had been drawn up to add extra classrooms to the school to accommodate the number of students.
School assemblies during the 1920s were not too much different to what they are today. They would begin with a salutation of the flag, singing of the national anthem and then marching into classrooms with music provided by the school band.
George Frazer took over as Headmaster at the beginning of 1929. The District Inspector at the time noted ‘…the school is working effectively and the teachers are earnest, giving of their best and prepare thoroughly. There is a busy working spirit and the tone is creditable. Assemblies are efficiently carried out and the marching which is very good is a special feature’.