Banksia La Trobe Secondary College is almost gone

This is what Banksia La Trobe Secondary College looked like today:


My parents went to this school back in the 1960s when it was called Heidelberg High School.

My mum was sad when she saw my photos of the trashed interior.  She will probably be pretty sad when she sees the above photo.

x Kitten of Doom



~ by Kitten of Doom on February 6, 2014.

41 Responses to “Banksia La Trobe Secondary College is almost gone”

  1. I too went to Heidelberg High, was a foundation student finishing in form V in 1959. Good memories. I was looking at the Form VA school photo, turned up in a bunch of old photos today. It’s a shame to see the school being destroyed, it makes me sad too. What a waste!

  2. I was a student there finishing in 1961. Very sad to see a place with many fond memories demolished. Who would have made such a decision?

    • Four high schools – Banksia La Trobe Secondary College, Bellfield Primary School, Haig Street Primary School and Olympic Village Primary School – merged to create Charles La Trobe College. I’m not sure exactly why. Perhaps so the council can sell the land of the old schools to developers? There are talks of building a new school on the site.

  3. The weird thing is that while they are pulling old Heidelberg High down the rapidly changing demographics will probably mean they will urgently need to build another High School on the same site .!Ken Smith

  4. I was a Matriculation (Year 12) student in 1968. Mr Hugh Curry was Principal and I was elected as the inaugural President of the Student’s Representative Council. I completed eight subjects that year including one that I was not even enrolled in (English Literature.) I won a Commonwealth scholarship and went on to study Law at Melbourne University. I had a forty year career in the law and am now a retired writer of fiction and social commentator.
    Hugh Curry was a remarkable man. At my first meeting with him as SRC President he asked me , quite bluntly. what I hoped to achieve. I well remember my response. ”Mr Curry, West Heidelberg is Melbourne’s ultimate slum. It’s the Nazareth of the north. Over ninety percent of housing is welfare housing. Thirty percent of households have a member in gaol. Less than thirty percent have even one member in full time employment. The kids in this school are la crème de la crème of the region; but this cream has been taken from much skimmed milk. My aim is to instil in them a sense of pride in what they have already achieved and a sense of destiny in what they can yet achieve.
    Hugh Curry trained his lengthy aquiline nose at me and said “Young man, you are the first of my advisers to share my dream. We shall walk this road together’.
    We stayed in touch for many years into his retirement. We achieved much but the politicians appear to have demolished much of our dream.
    I should also acknowledge Miss Jean Peters as one of the finest teachers of English that I have ever known . She would be proud to know that at least one of her students has achieved a D.Litt.

    I remain a proud Alumnus of Heidelberg High School.

    • Thank you for sharing your happy memories of being a student of HHS, Anthony. I think my parents may have graduated the year before you.

    • I attended HHS from 1962 – 1965 and must have been a year ahead of you. I also have fond memories of the school and Headmaster MacGregor. I do recall there was considerable gender separation though and I also recall some ignorant, vicious, immature teachers and student bullies protected by the staff because they were jocks.

      • I was at HHS between 1962 and 1967. My only bad memories of the place eminated from being a pretty average student scholastically, so most of my fear stemmed from being found out after not having done homework on time etc. It’s true that discipline was strict but looking at the world today and the general lack of it, that was probably a good thing. There were also some great teachers and some average ones but that’s the norm anywhere. Miss Garner (French & English) had been an English teacher in Dieppe, France when the Germans took control in the second world war and she became a prisoner of war. When the end of year exams were completed she would take time out to tell us about those days and you could hear a pin drop as everyone hung on every word she had to say. Speaking of discipline, this was a teacher who was a very strong disciplinarian, yet most people respected and liked her so go figure. For those with a grudge about the place, I can only say to you that the worlds not perfect, and what responsibility do you take for your lot in life? I for one am glad I went to HHS and am very saddened to see it’s demise.

      • Yes I remember when I started,1962 to 1965 there were boys stairs and girls stairs and specific play areas too. But it did change.
        I still have my year books and school badge
        Good memories growing up going to Bellfield state then Heidelberg high.
        I still have contact with a couple of friends from back then even though I live in QLD..
        I felt sad to find out the schools had gone
        But changes happen all the time that’s life..

    • you are a fair dinkum Ivanhoe may be could be wanker, I attended this shitfull place, think I “graduated” in 68. Fair dinkum West Heidelberg boys and Gals do not need your dreams, or your soppy Mr Curry tales, he was a fair dinkum useless c**t.

      Janis Ozolins

      • I suspect you are a sister of John Ozolins, a friend of my childhood. I was an Oriel Road West Heidelberg kid, eldest of six and son of a quadriplegic father who was nursed 24 hours a day for 14 years by my mother, a trained nursing sister. I had friends in Ivanhoe but I am no silver spooner. The whole tenor of your comment tells me that you fell through the safety net that Hugh Curry and I dreamed about. I hope John had better luck in life.

  5. It was a dump. I was there from 1958 to 1963. Ignorant, vicious, immature teachers, bullies protected by the staff because they were jocks, pompous, risible headmasters.

    Our first headmaster was one Henry Moody, gnomic and obsessed with stamping out ‘soppiness’ – any contact between male and female students – and with ‘bodily waste’. When he called a boys’ assembly, we were usually certain that we would be castigated over one or other of these issues – ‘there’s a large lump of bodily waste in the third floor toilets’.

    His successor, Ken McGregor, was equally silly and unjust but much scarier. He was hated and feared.

    It’s great to learn that the place is now rubble.

  6. I was a student at this school 1962 – 1965. We were an all girls form and I remember having to clean up a teachers flat near the cookery kitchens for home duties. She was an absolute pug and we hated doing it. Our lockers were on the ground floor outside the science labs and every Wednesday we hated going to them as they made rotten egg gas in the labs.
    I also remember Mr McGregor. He had no time for any student.
    Does anyone remember mouse, the little science teacher? We use to like walking behind him and imitating him. Lol

    • Yes I was there at the same time
      Same memories
      I loved my French teacher and form teacher Miss knapett? Also my hockey coach..
      I was just an average student left school the end of 1965 and have had a great life.
      It was sad to see the school demolished.
      We may have been in the same class.

  7. I used to teach there. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

  8. I used to teach there in the early 2000s. Nightmare. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

  9. Yes, I remember Mr Myers who you call Mouse – a kind and capable Indian science and maths teacher who was given a difficult time by immature students – and Mr Marshall the science teacher who was similarly given a hard time because of his deafness (became curator of Space Science at Melbourne Museum). Some of us benefited from some of these conscientious teachers (and Mr Cook, Jack Potter, Mrs Jenkins, Mr Watters) to become successful scientists and in other careers.

  10. Comment disappeared. Science teachers like Mr Myers (Mouse) and deaf Mr Marshall (later curator of Space Science at Melbourne Museum), who immature kids used to give a hard time, is why some of us are CSIRO scientists etc today. Yes there were some awful teachers, McGregor was a shocking and frightening headmaster, and there were some even worse students. But teachers like them saved a lot of us – as for Jocks, Jack Potter who later founded the Australian Cricket Acadmia was a real saviour for me – and what about Mr Cook? Be fair and balanced. It wasn’t great at all, but some staff tried hard….and succeeded.

  11. I was at HHS between 1959-61 on a Government scholarship – had to leave at the end of Form V (Year 11) due to family drama. It was a nearly new school then, just getting started, but it wasn’t as bad as some of which I’ve heard. I remember some of the teachers of that era who have been mentioned. I could have used my scholarship to go to any school I wanted, but chose HHS because some of my friends were going there after we finished Year 8 at Westgarth Central School. I have often thought I would have been better served by going to University HS, but overall I did well out of HHS, and have had a satisfying life since. It could have been so much worse. Sad to see the old concrete jungle being torn down.

  12. I had a grudging respect for Mr Jenkins, who was deputy principle until 1962. He was a tough disciplinarian, but he understood the psychology of the secondary student perfectly and there wasn’t much in the school that escaped his attention. He was also, in his own way, fair and even just.

    Mr Marshall fell in love with and married one of the senior women teachers at about the same time he moved to the Museum. This seemed to make him more human, and at least some of the people who had given him a hard time felt guilty and ashamed.

    As for Mr McGregor, well. does anyone here remember the outrage, the interrogations and the recriminations the day his ‘discipline book’ was stolen?

  13. KoD, One of Headmaster Mr McGregor ‘s disciplinary innovations, introduced in 1961 and presumably continued while he remained in charge. It was a large, ledger style book on the table outside his office and students who had misbehaved were sent by their teachers to sign the ‘discipline book’. – name, ‘form’, date and offence

    On Friday afternoons, these students were required to attend Mr McGregor win his office where they would be given a punishment – detention, extra work or, at best, a severe chastisement. The process was extremely humiliiating

    One day, two ‘fourth form’ – year 10 – boys – not in any way your typical bad kids – stole the book and then the school went into a sort of ‘code black’ emergency status, outraged announcements, interrogations – almost all the year nine and ten boys – locker and bag searches, some classes suspended…

    Eventually the book was found in a locker, which surprised many of us, we assumed it would have been thrown in the Darwin Creek. I can’t remember what happened to the culprits, but they weren’t expelled.

  14. Disappointing to see some of the comments above. Arrived 1967 from Bellfield Primary across the road (now demolished). Does anyone out there remember, teachers Lee Adamson (accounting) or Mrs Garner (french), Ted Potter (sport) or Brian Stirton (woodwork) or maybe Mrs Cullen (maths)? I also recall HHS as having some of the very best sporting students in the state. Sue Eddy, Phil Manassa and Julie key, to name just a few. I also recall the Football side being state champions with several guys going on to play at the highest level. I was never any oil painting myself, but great memories all the same…….Trevor.

  15. Yes, memories come flooding back of Henry Moody and Ken Mc Gregor, Geoff Allingham, Jack Potter and fellow students Phil Plane, Sandra Dawes, Peter Slattery, Judy Johnson and good times in the auditorium in the early sixties. Does anyone have any class photographs?
    Suspect the decisions to merge and demolish were actually made by bureaucrats in the Northern Region office of the Education Department. They did the merge and close routine also in reservoir. Had heard that one such bureaucrat ended up being investigated by the police

  16. I was at H.H.S. from 1960 to 1962 and remember some of the teachers, namely Mrs. Macdowell, Mr Myers , Miss Garner, Mr. Allingham, Mr. Barclay, Miss Foster, etc. I on the whole enjoyed my time there and regretting having to leave before graduation. Sad about its demise, it was once the largest school in the southern hemisphere (as quoted from a school textbook).

  17. Mrs Garner – what a great French teacher

  18. I and my two brothers attended HHS between 1957 and 1970. I have no doubt that the school would not meet today’s expectations but it was as good as most state school of the period and new students coming post Form 1 from other schools were not dismayed by what they found. The classes were large, typically over forty in each Form 1 class in 1960 (I have the roll calls and photos to prove it!) and one teacher per class!. The parents’ occupations ranged from unskilled workers to, tradesmen, teachers, journalists, doctors and professors. The curved building itself was an excellent example of passive solar design; it should have been retained and re-purposed for this reason alone but maybe the fact that it was built on an old quarry and tip made it unsound and needing demolition.

    Tony Murray 1960-1965

  19. Yes, I remember Adelaide Garner, a wonderful teacher! She was our form master in 1961, and 62. Ralph Wilson comes to mind as well, English teacher, strong on drama (theatre) and poetry. Not sure how how long he lasted, he’d built himself a catamaran and was planning to do a bit of serious sailing around the Pacific. I was there from 1961 to 1965 when I left abruptly to move to Sydney and work. It was an interesting period, I too followed a group of friends from Westgarth Central to HHS. McGregor was as has been said a disciplinarian, but he had some good in him. We used his text “English for Australian Schools” in English class. I say some good as I benefited from his interest in the arts. He agreed to allow me and a group of my friends to make a film about the school. There were others who made headway at HHS under MCGregor as well, some making mnames in the Law, Medicine and Education. Let’s not rubbish HHS, there were serious faults that in hindsight reflected the attitudes of the 1950’s, but thats where we were. Melbourne in the 1950’s and early 60’s was pretty dire, and HHS wasn’t an exception.

  20. I was there from 1958 – 1963. I remember Mr Moody as a benign character in a french beret. Mr Mcgregor was to be avoided. Miss Bunning taught Geography & was in charge of girls, I think. She patrolled the back streets on Wednesday lunch time to catch us bunking off from Sport! Mr Fry & Mr Tozer were great teachers & brave to sing Gilbert & Sullivan to us in Assembly. Mrs Garner was said to have been in the French Resistence. She was a lovely teacher. Mr Marshal married Miss Day. There was a kind music teacher who introduced us to classical music. I remember group marching & folk dancing on the quad. and all school singing in Assembly. It was a scary place because of bullies but some of the teachers deserved medals. Two brothers called Mr Ireland couldnt control classes & a poor Chinese maths teacher couldnt be understood & was given a hard time. Leaving & Matric classes were small & enjoyable. Far off days now.

  21. I was a student at HHS 1966 – 1970 I wasn’t a great student but still enjoyed my time there.
    I have photos of 2E 1967, 3D 1968, 4C 1969, 5A 1970
    Bronwyn Callander nee Peeke

  22. I went to HHS for Years 7-10 in the late 1980’s. It was the most miserable building I had ever been to in my whole life. I am deaf and I was bullied by both hearing and deaf and nothing was done about the bullying culture at HHS. My mum moved us to the rural area north of Bendigo and I went to a school that had zero bullying and I was so relieved to hear that this hell hole was demolished! There are students I went to HHS with who I have a deep wish to meet up with again and beat the crap out of. It was that bad.

  23. I was a foundation pupil at HHS in 1955 and left in Dec 1958
    Irene BERZINSKI.

  24. My sister went to HHS in the 60’s while my brother and I were at Haig St PS. He was at HHS from 1970 to 75 and I was there from 73 to 79. (failed HSC English the first time] I remember HHS with fond memories except the fact I had to do sewing and cookery when I wanted to do woodwork metalwork and technical drawing. Our principal was a bit of a goof but most of the teachers were fantastic John Benson Glenda Dunn Mrs Mitchel Mrs Gail Chris Wardlaw and so many others, the only one I wasn’t so impressed in was my Yr 12 form teacher who went on to become Victoria’s Treasurer. Bit of a lazy teacher and I heard this didn’t change much in Parliament. I was so disappointed when I heard it had been closed and then both my primary and secondary schools were demolished. I became a teacher because of my teachers at Haig St and Heidelberg High and even did a round at Haig St in the 80’s. After 33 years teaching first in Primary and the last 11 years in a P 12 College I hope I have helped and encouraged my students the way the teachers did in my school years. What happened to the Olympic Village Olympic Rings from the gym? I hope they weren’t demolished with the buildings as they were part of the history of the district and Australia.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: