History of the Hampton High School

A brief history is courtesy of the Sandringham Sketch Book & HHS Commemorative 50th Anniversary Publication

Hampton High School

In 1909 the Sandringham and District Progress League wrote to Sir Thomas Bent M.P. asking for a much needed school for their children. A property of 1.2 hectares was bough for £875 in Hampton Street in 1910, but it was not until 1912 that a four roomed brick school catering for 254 children was opened. Previously Hampton children had been obliged to walk up to 5 kilometres to the nearest State School in Sandringham, in all weathers and through thick scrub which as a letter to "The Age" stated "is not a pleasant prospect for young girls."

The building developed until there was a two storeyed solid brick structure surrounding the quadrangle. Meanwhile the numbers of children at primary school level swelled, requiring facilities for what was then called a Higher Elementary School, taking senior pupils up to Form four. In 1925 the Education Department bouight four acres of land on the north side of Ludstone Street from the War Homes Commission (for £3,000). Later generations were to regret that such a small site was purchased.

By 1934 an eight roomed building was built on the Ludstone Street site for the infant school but shortly after occupancy the Hampton High School was proclaimed on 12th September 1935 and displaced the Infant School. The new High School curricular extended up to sixth Form, then H.S.C. level. Before the school was a year old accommodation was "totally inadequate with Junior Forms to large". The average junior class numbered 50 children. Pupils wer constantly on the move between the Primary School, Ludstone Street and the Presbyterian Church hall.

In 1937, a second storey was built on the brick building by the innovative procedure of raising the roof with car jack while building proceeded under the roof. More church halls were leased and two wooden rooms at Ludstone Street were used for classes while some forms worked under the raised roof.

The work of the school was seriously handicapped in 1937 when the school closed for many weeks owing to a severe outbreak of poliomyelitis. Teachers attended school to prepare correspondence lessons. The school enrolment reached 825 in 1939, including 220 at the "Annex" at the Primary School which consisted of three rooms in the brick building and two rooms in "condemned" accommodation in the school grounds. The headmaster and 32 teachers faced the enrolment of 953 in 1941. The grounds, though very small, were a constant problem with heavy erosion despite loads of filling from underground drains in Grenville and Mills Street. With 1048 pupils in 1944 the school felt some of the pressures which continued through the 50s and 60s, with many classes of 48 students.

The history of Hampton High School is the history of a long and difficult battle to obtain sufficient accommodation to house its students and staff, even in the days of reduced enrolment which began to occur in the 1970s.

A disastrous fire burnt down the greater part of the new buildings in 1957, and for more time than was comfortable students and teachers worked in near-by church halls. When the school was rebuilt, the whole of the former building in Hampton Street became the Primary School.

Hampton High School had many difficulties. Population and settlement in adjoining suburbs like Highett and Beaumaris increased, but since they had no high schools, Hampton took on as many as 150 new students at entrance level per year and at one time had on its roll 1048 pupils. It had become the largest High School in Victoria. From 1960 to the mid 70s enrolment remained fairly constant around 850. However accommodation was always scarce and classes usually large.

The school raised the necessary funds to build an Assembly Hall which began its use in 1964. The school hall was adapted for Physical Education classes in the absence of funding for a gymnasium in 1977 and in 1979 the upper storey of the main building was refurbished as a Commonwealth Library, the Jack Miller Library was occupied in early 1980. Changes to other rooms, music, commercial, science, office and store rooms were undertaken during this reconstruction.

Hampton High School continued to meet the needs of its community, providing a broad, well balanced curriculum to develop the potential of its students in the technological age with a well equipped computer room being used by many faculty areas throughout the 1980s.

As new state high and technical schools were built, one in Brighton, Sandringham, Highett, plus others at Beaumaris and Mentone, the overload dwindled and pressure was lifted. In 1987 Hampton High School became Hampton Campus of Sandringham Secondary College upon amalgamation with Beaumaris and Highett High Schools and Sandringham Technical School. The school's limited area and hence facilities along with a further decline in numbers led the State Government to rationalise its educational institutions in the area and combine those locally in to the Sandringham Secondary College and thus in December 1988 Hampton High School was closed. In 1988 there was no year 7 intake and in December the Hampton Campus site closed with the majority of students transferring to the Sandringham Campus.

The Old Hamptonians Association was active in 1939 and held a Reunion Ball in the Brighton Town Hall. At intervals over the next 40 years other ex-students made gallant efforts to organise "Old Hamptonians" but with little success beyond the first few months. Ten yars after the school had been closed The Hampton High School Association was re-activated and on 18th August 1998 The Old Hamptonians Association Inc was founded. June and July of 1998 saw Radio and
Press coverage used to get an indication from past students and teachers as to whether an Old
Hamptonians Association was viable. Although the school had been closed for 10 years, it was quite obvious from the responses, that there was still a great deal of interest and enthusiasm from past students and teachers who were anxious to renew former friendships. The Old Hamptonians was thus revived and issued the first copy of its Aurora magazine in December of that year.

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