The History of Eltham High School

The Fifties - A New Name

Snapshots of a School with a New Name

1950
Saw the birth of Eltham High School

1951
A new school badge featuring motto "Deeds Count" was introduced

1952
A new school blazer was introduced

1953
The Right Hon. R. G. Menzies visited school and addressed students

1954
Electricity was connected to the school

1955
Work on new school buildings commenced

Mothers' Club Visit to Kinglake, 1952

Prime Minister, R. G. Menzies at EHS, Nov 5th 1953

Eltham's First Major Production, 'Pirates of Penzance', 1959
1956
Thirteen students in the first Matriculation class

1957
The school library found a proper home in Room 10

1958
The Annual Speech Night was held in the new school hall

1959
Number of staff had doubled since 1950
    1950 - 1951   Mr. J. L. Shannon
    1952 - 1955   Mr. H. J. Moody
    1956 - 1960   Mr. H. H. Richards


Eltham High School - The Fifties

In 1950 Eltham High School was born, and to appreciate what the High School achieved in it first ten years, the achievements must be seen against continual overcrowding and difficult conditions. It had a feeder area that was far too large for its facilities.

On commencement, the High School was used by students as far away as Fairfield and Kinglake. Mr. Shannon, Head Master, reported on the problems of overcrowding, "The attendance increased to 300 and lack of accommodation compelled us to use the two shelter sheds. The arrival of the army hut was added to the present building and extra accommodation was provided." The completion of a pre-fabricated aluminium classroom toward the end of 1950 was also gained, but once again overcrowding was evident in 1951, with classes either having to work in the corridors or squeeze into the bookstall. The completion of a second pre-fab in 1952 was generally not only late in arriving, but inadequate to solve the problems.

Electricity was connected to the school in March 1954. After waiting for 25 years, parents and friends of the school came to the "switching on" ceremony performed by Mr. E. Morrissey, M.L.A. for Mernda, and a member of the school Advisory Council, and lights were switched on in various parts of the school building.

A major building program was commenced on 27th July 1955. The additions to the school were extensive, to say the least; they were to include an assembly hall, gymnasium, cafeteria, new shelter sheds and bicycle shed, as well as many additional classrooms. The rooms were to include, drama, music, prefects rooms and boys and girls common rooms. During winter the building program made school life difficult for both staff and students often walking planks provided by the builders, to travel from one class to the next over mud and puddles. Many of the teachers and students worked hard to save trees that were in the path of the new buildings. Finally, the school was completed.

Changes as a New High School

On becoming a High School in 1950, a fifth year class (Leaving Certificate) was offered for the first time. The first Eltham High School ex- student to graduate from a university was John Rodrick, who gained his Bachelor of Science degree at Melbourne University in 1955.

The school uniform continued through this period. In 1952, the new school blazer was introduced, tailor made by Mr. Benjamin of Melbourne. The school also adopted new colours in the uniform--blue, yellow and red.

Sport played an important part in the life of the school. Students were able to participate in house and inter-school competitions and special annual matches against Lilydale and Albury High Schools.

Netball team, 1958