Chatswood Public School

Inspire, engage, nurture

Telephone02 9419 6127

About our school

History of our school

The first school

Chatswood Public School was opened in 1883 in a one-room weatherboard building on two areas of bush what is now 17 Findlay Ave Roseville.

It was opened after a successful application in February 1882 from five residents of the district now known as Chatswood to the Minister for Education. The families were worried that their children were not being adequately educated and were too far from other educational institutions.

The school opened on Monday 9 July 1883 as a Public School with an enrolment of 34 pupils. Miss Agnes Burt was the first teacher. Reports of the school were that it was drafty and dilapidated and the grounds snake infested.

The current school

With the opening of the North Shore railway in 1890, the population of Chatswood grew and so did the enrolments at the school. With the overcrowding, the parents  began to lobby for a new school closer to Chatswood Station. The Department subsequently acquired the current site on the Pacific Highway, previously an orchard. A one-storey, three-roomed school of brick with stone dressings and a slate roof was built in 1895, plus a teacher's residence, opening in January 1896. These rooms were on the southern end of the current building.

Alexander Noble was appointed the Principal and the school had an enrolment of 240 students in its first year. With the population increasing more accommodation was needed, so an extension of three rooms was added to the school opening in 1898. They were built in keeping with the original building.

The status of the school was raised to a Superior Public School, where the school could offer higher classes to students who had completed primary education. A separate infants department was also created.

By 1900 the school population was 581, then by 1902 it was 640. The six classrooms were inadequate and a two-storey wing was built to accommodate 400 girls. The wing was opened in 1903 and Miss Dora Wright was appointed the mistress in charge. The school population was now 850.

In 1908 two additional classrooms and a cooking room were added along Centennial Avenue. In 1912 the school site was enlarged to provide more playground space. By 1913 the enrolment was 950. Plans were prepared to add a first storey to the original building and wings but were not started  until 1915 because of the First World War. In 1913 the status of the upper (high) classes was raised to a Commercial School for boys and a Domestic Science School for girls. In 1918 the Commercial School became a Boys Intermediate High School.

Again the school community pushed for more accommodation, eventually leading to the opening of a two-storey 10 room building for the infants classes in 1929. Retaining walls were also erected to form three playgrounds (the Lowers).

Numbers continued to rise through the 1920s, topping at 2,045 for the combined Infants and Kindergarten, Girls Primary, Boys Primary, Domestic Science for Girls (high school). Peak enrolment was 1933, with a record 2,438 students enrolled. This eventually led to the closure of the Chatswood's high schools, transferring to Willoughby Domestic Science and North Sydney Junior High School. The numbers dropped to 1,235.

In 1945 the school status changed to a Central School. In 1954 the Opportunity Classes (OC) were started. In 1959 Chatswood High School was opened. This saw the secondary classes transfer there and the school revert to its 1883 status as a Public School for primary aged children.

This information was taken from "Chatswood Public School 1983-2003 The Continuing Story" written by Lynette Twigg.