What is significant?
The first school in Caulfield, supported by the Denominational Board of Education, opened in January 1860. Caulfield Common School at the corner of Glenhuntly and Glen Eira Roads was opened in June 1864. In 1877, the school was transferred to a new building on Glenhuntly Road designed by architect Henry Robert Bastow. The extension of rail services through Elsternwick to North Brighton, and from Glenhuntly to Oakleigh and settlement in Caulfield increased the school population. By 1888 attendance grew to 300. In 1888 and 1890-91, extensions were built to cope with this population growth. The 1890-91 addition consisted of a large classroom and an office with a turret. No structural changes have been made since. In 1889 the introduction of the horse tramway in Glenhuntly Road was followed by another increase in school numbers to 450. The opening of electric tram services in Hawthorn and Glenhuntly Roads in 1913 was another spur to increased attendance and 700 children were enrolled. In 1921 a separate two-storey building designed by architect E. Evan Smith was opened, accommodating 1221 children at the school. The 1877 school building is single storey and constructed of polychrome brick. A prominent feature of the building is the turret office and square tower over the entry. The intact interior includes its coved ceilings andglazed partitions added in 1908. The 1921 building is a freestanding two storey building with a three storey section at one end. Constructed of red brick with Marseilles tile roof, the building is simple in style with large multi-pane windows with concrete lintels and prominent chimneys that are corbelled at their base. Contained on the site is a rectangular timber shelter shed with a verandah around all sides.
How is it significant?
Caulfield Primary School No.773 is of architectural, social and historical importance to the State of Victoria.
Why is it significant?
Caulfield Primary School No.773 is of architectural importance because the 1877 building is a representative example of a school which has developed from one room to a large urban school with little alteration, apart from re-roofing. Its design for the original room in polychrome brick with a jerkin head roof was a prototype for other schools. Of particular interest are the turret over the office and the square tower built in 1890-91. Both are clad in glazed terracotta shingles and the tower has tracery panels under the louvred vents. The 1921 building is a particularly intact example of a school building of that period and is a rare example of the construction of a separate school rather than addition to existing buildings when expansion was required. The timber shelter shed on the site is an unusual example of a rectangular shade structure which demonstrates an essential aspect of school life and a response to climatic conditions. The shed is also unusual as it contains glass windows, indicating that it may have been used as a classroom at some stage.
Caulfield Primary School No.773 is of social and historical importance as the 1877 building is an example of a school built in response to the 1872 Education Act which gave access to a free, compulsory and secular education. Its expansion reflected the expansion of the suburb of Caulfield, particularly in the boom years of the 1880s and the inter war period of the twentieth century, when the 1921 building was constructed. The buildings are important for their physical manifestation of the changing needs of families and of population changes in the Caulfield area.