What is significant?
The construction of the Kathleen Syme Education Centre (Former Faraday Street State School Number 112), was supervised by architects Reed and Barnes and the contractors were Cockran and Company. It was built in 1876-7 in response to the requirements of the Education Act of 1873. It is adjacent to an earlier brick building of 1865, a schoolroom also designed by Reed and Barnes. It is believed that the design was influenced by the University Museum at Oxford of the 1850s by Deane and Woodward. The Kathleen Syme Education Centre is a two storey polychromatic brick structure with a slate roof and shallow eaves. A central gable and tower with a bellcast roof form the central element of the asymmetrical facade to Faraday Street. The end pavilions have pyramidal roofs. The window openings to both storeys are variously square-headed, arch, segmental arch or depressed pointed arch. Most of the windows were enlarged in 1908 to from single openings from pairs of pointed arch windows. There are Gothic-style buttresses to the ground floor. The string courses are emphasised by use of cream colour bricks. Rear wings constructed of brick were added in 1927.
Why is it significant?
The Kathleen Syme Education Centre (Former Faraday Street State School) is of architectural and historical significance to the State of Victoria.
How is it significant?
The Kathleen Syme Education Centre (Former Faraday Street State School) is architecturally significant as a pioneer of Victorian State School architecture. Its distinctive polychrome details and its composition, culminating in the central gable and tower reflect the design of University Museum at Oxford and the Gothic revival style in Britain as led by John Ruskin. The Kathleen Syme Education Centre is additionally significant as a rare example of school design by the noted architects Reed and Barnes, and as a winning design in the 1873 competition for new schools. Reed and Barnes were particularly interested in polychromatic designs during the 1860s and 1870s, other notable buildings in this manner being the former Independent Church in Collins Street of 1867 and Rippon Lea mansion in Elsternwick of 1868. The end pavilions of the Kathleen Syme Education Centre are a notable Reed motif and also appeared in the old Menzies Hotel.
The Kathleen Syme Education Centre (Former Faraday Street State School) is historically significant as evidence of the provision of continuous schooling on this site since 1858 and as evidence of the later development of compulsory State education in Victoria in the 1870s. The school's history demonstrates the evolution of school provision, from National schools to Common schools to Education Department schools.The introduction of free compulsory education in 1873 sparked the need for producing attractive but standardised school designs to cope with the massive demand. The Kathleen Syme Education Centre, former Faraday Street State School Number 112, became the progenitor, with slight variations, for State schools at Castlemaine, Golden Point and Hamilton.