What is significant? The primary school in Wandiligong was opened in 1877, designed by Henry R. Bastow, chief Education Department architect and constructed by Grieg and Wilson. The first school in the town was established in 1860 and was conducted by the Presbyterian Church. It became Common School 275 in 1862 and a timber school room was built in 1870 as numbers in the town grew.
Gold discoveries in the late 1850s prompted the development of Wandiligong and the establishment of mines resulted in a stable community in the town. In 1876 a request for a substantial brick building was agreed to, and the next year a school to accommodate 200 children was opened. In 1881 a wing was added to the school building to accommodate growing numbers, and the old school building, located to the rear became a teachers? residence. It remained in use until 1959 and the school has continued to operate despite a sharp decline in the population of the town in the twentieth century.
The Wandiligong school is an asymmetrical, brick building, with distinctive square tower, which is unusually constructed on two levels in response to the sloped site. It has a high pitched corrugated iron roof and encircling verandah, which shades the walls and provides shelter. These verandahs are extensions of the main roof, but at a lower pitch. The original 1877 building incorporates a gabled roof section and, at a lower level, an adjacent section with jerkin-head roof. Rectangular paned windows, roof finials and vents are a feature of the original building, and these, together with the jerkin-head roof form and encircling verandah, are repeated in the 1881 section at the rear. Gothic elements, limited to brick arches in gable ends, add to the overall picturesque nature of the composition, with that of the rear section introducing contrasting red brickwork in a distinctive herringbone pattern.
For health reasons, ventilation was a major concern in the design of school buildings in the later 19th century, and it is believed that the first appearance of the Tobin tube in school design occurred at Wandiligong Primary School. Named after its English inventor, this system was developed in c1874 and required a horizontal opening in an exterior wall at floor level, leading to a vertical tube, attached to the inside face of a wall. This system was adopted in a large number of new schools thereafter.
How is it significant? Wandiligong Primary School is of architectural and historical significance to the State of Victoria.
Why is it significant? Wandiligong Primary School is of architectural significance as one of the first school buildings to incorporate verandahs in its design, showing a sensitivity to the Australian climate. It is a highly picturesque design, set unusually on two levels, and incorporates a distinctive square tower.
Wandiligong Primary School is of architectural significance as one of the first to include the innovative Tobin tube in an attempt to address the important issue of ventilation in schools. Developed only a few years earlier in England, this was an early adoption of this method, subsequently used widely for a number of years in Victoria.
Wandiligong Primary School is of historical significance for its associations with the gold rush period. It is an important remnant in the town, illustrative of the growth that occurred in the region as a result of the Victorian gold rush.