The first school at Beechworth was a school opened in the Wesleyan chapel in January 1855. A small Church of England school opened in 1856 later to become Beechworth Grammar School. A new national school opened in Loch Street in November 1858 and this became Common School No.36 after 1862. A new brick building designed by Thomas Dalziel was constructed in Loch Street for the school. This building later became the Ovens Advertiser office. The school was re-named the Beechworth Academy before being taken over by the Education Department in 1873. Gold was discovered at Beechworth in March 1852 and set off a rush to the Ovens district. Mining continued in this district until the decline in quartz mining in the 1920s. Because of the location of courts, gaol, hospital, benevolent asylum and lunatic asylum at Beechworth, the town remained an important centre for the north-east. The Beechworth Primary School No.1560 moved into a new building on the Sydney Road end of the Botanic Reserve. The school was constructed in 1875 according to a design first used for the Competition School at Errol Street North Melbourne. This school was designed by Wharton and Vickers and was the prototype for five other schools. The architect for this school was Henry Bastow. The tower has been altered but the building is otherwise intact. Beechworth Primary School is a single storey polychrome brick building with decorative plaster mouldings around the windows and doors. The arched window openings are grouped in twos or threes. The bicycle shed in the school grounds c.1920 is in timber with a corrugated iron roof. A shelter with lattice work and exposed roof trusses c.1920s is also in the grounds. A pine plantation on the site was established by the school children and added to each year, until 1938, when it was fully planted.
How is it significant?
Beechworth Primary School No.1560 is of social, historical and architectural significance to the State of Victoria.
Why is it significant?
Beechworth Primary School No.1560 is of social and historical importance as it represents a boom period in Beechworth's history. The Beechworth Primary School reflects the period of the establishment of large Education Department schools around the State and the growth of Beechworth from a goldfields town in the 1850s to a town whose economy was based on the establishment of courts, prison and mental hospital as the administrative centre of the north east of Victoria.
Beechworth Primary School No.1560 is of architectural significance as a particularly intact example of a Competition Derived School constructed in 1875. It retains much of its form and decoration and demonstrates skilled craftsmanship in its execution with polychrome brickwork and plaster mouldings. The timber bike shed is a rare example of an ancillary school structure, at one time characteristic of country schools. The school sits on a picturesque site, consisting of pines planted by the school children up until the late 1930s.