Smythesdale Market ShedsBeginning in the middle 1850’s there were several private schools in Smythesdale being conducted in private homes.

The Church of England began teaching in 1856 and two years later Church of England School No 571 was built. The school later received Government aid. There was also a Presbyterian Church School, which opened in the 1860’s with no Government aid.

As early as 1866 a portion of the Police reserve on the corner of Loader and Ireland Street was reserved to erect a Vested Common School and a local committee applied for state aid but it was refused.

smythesdale market sheds
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In 1868 a deputation asked the Smythesdale Borough Council to make available the Market Reserve for the site of a common school. This request was granted on 28th, January 1870. This reserve is the site where the school now sits.

Sheds that had been previously used as a market were kept for use and added to, and a new brick building (including the furniture) costing 921 pounds 6 shillings was completed. School number 978 opened 1st, August 1871.

The first headmaster was Robert Mitchell. His assistant was Elizabeth Mary Hunter Goudie and Jeanie A Lawson was the pupil teacher.
In 1871, enrolment was 247 – 156 boys and 91 girls with an average attendance of 169.

In 1874, the name was changed from Common school to State School and there were 499 pupils on the roll.

In 1883, the enrolment was 411 and plans were made to add a brick extension of 2 rooms; 36 feet by 18 feet and 42 feet and 18 Feet. Alterations were also made to the original building.

On 2nd, April 1895 after long negotiations, the head teacher John J Bothroyd leased a residence for 20 pound a year from the Public Works Department. The old Sub-Treasury Building in Brooke Street, adjoining the Post Office was used by the headmasters for the next 60 odd years. The building was condemned in 1961 and then demolished in 1962.

Between 1871 and 1971 the school saw 31 headmasters.

“The Smythesdale Homecommers” was formed in 1926 by 3 former students who were holidaying in Smythesdale.

In 1971 a gathering of over 400 people assembled at the school entrance for the official opening of Centenary celebrations. The Memorial gates were opened and a plaque commemorating the occasion was unveiled. Mr. Byrne, the Minister of Public Works commented that in the early years, the total expenditure on the building was less than the cost of a coat of paint today. In the evening a centenary dinner was held in the local hall followed by a dance.

A souvenir booklet issued to mark the occasion had a forward by the District Inspector of Schools Mr. L. C Yandell.