Albert Park Primary School was founded in January 1873, and was initially known as the "Mechanics' Institute School No. 1181".Architect Joseph Schneider had won a competition to design the two-storey brick school building and while this was being built, 400 of the students were housed in the Mechanics' Institute on the corner of Dorcas and Cecil Streets. A further 254 students were in the Orderly Room of the Emerald Hill Artillery.
In April 1874, staff and students moved into their new building on its present site in Bridport Street. The school was renamed "Nelson Road School, 1181". In 1886, enrolment had reached 1540 students and they were eager for the proposed Middle Park School to open to ease crowding. Middle Park Primary School was built in 1887. Temporary classrooms in Cardigan Place had to be leased from the Wesleyan Church to cope with student numbers.
In 1901 there was a proposal for a separate Infant School in Henderson Street, which was finally completed in 1914. Meanwhile, students were being taught in corridors and 250 children were crammed into the adjacent Methodist church hall. This hall was purchased by the Education Department in 1970 for the school and was renovated in 1972 for a variety of uses, including assembly, indoor sport and drama. Its floor was replaced in 2007 and a sound system installed in 2008. It was also used by Camp Australia, who run our Out Of School Hours Program.
The main school was altered in 1907-8. Windows were enlarged, floors renewed and galleries removed. To accommodate the students during the work, space was leased in the Dorcas Street Presbyterian Church buildings and in the Presbyterian Church on the corner of Merton and O'Grady Streets. The School Committee was established in 1911, replacing the Board of Advice established in 1873.
In 1970, a temporary barricade of kerosene drums, erected and dismantled daily by council workers, closed Bridport Street during school hours to provide additional playground space. In 1971 Bridport Street was closed to the public by an Act of Parliament and incorporated into the school grounds. A new library and arts centre was completed in 1998. The school reclaimed a small triangle of land behind the Wesleyan hall in 2004, which had been used by The City of Port Phillip Council as a playground. During 2005, three portable classrooms were installed to cope with the increase in enrolment. A further two mod 5 classrooms have since been added. Synthetic grass was installed on the mini oval and a third playground was built. A new perimeter fence and secure bike stalls were erected.
Since 2005 the school's population has grown each year. To cope with the extra students, two double storey mod 10 portable buildings replaced two single storey portables in 2008, with another added mid 2014. The City of Port Phillip Council created a park beside the school in 2013 by closing a section of Moubray Street to traffic. The school shares this space with the public as much needed extra playground space.
Albert Park Primary School Annual Report 2007
Albert Park Primary School 1181 Centenary 1873 – 1973, Ascot Press Pty. Ltd, Richmond
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