Mickleham School

The Past

The Mickleham school's origins can be traced back to the local Wesleyan bluestone Chapel built on the acre of land donated by Thomas Langford in Mt. Ridley Rd.

The school opened on 1 April 1855 with 48 children, the first head teacher lived for many years in a tent near the school and the church and the school shared the same premises, by weekday a school and place of teaching for local children and by weekend a place of worship for the local Wesleyan community until 1871 when the school was moved to other premises and the building was used for church services only.  It was known as Wesley School No 423 and operated on the site for 16 years until replaced by the present bluestone building in Mickleham village in 1871 – State School No 1051.

A list of the children of local families who attended the Wesley School No 423 on Mt. Ridley Rd at Mickleham in 1867 can be found on this site through this link.

Robert Langford Sidebottom was an active member of the school committee and in a 1988 Back to Mickleham publication was credited with being primarily responsible for getting the new school built. The publication stated that:

The origins of School 1051 lie in letters written by Robert Sidebottom who was the Correspondent for the Local Committee. On three occasions, November 1867, July 1868 and January 1869 he made written requests to the Board of Education for a grant of £90 to be used towards the erection of a bluestone building. The land had already been purchased for £10 from Mr William Saunders of Riseborough Park, the money being raised by public donation. These three requests were all refused. However in 1870, Robert made another application stating that the local committee had now raised £100 which had been placed in the Bank of Victoria, to the credit of the Board of Education. This time the Board agreed with Robert’s request by making a £100 grant to match that of the Local Committee.

The Saunders family from whom the land for the school had been purchased for £10 from had also been pioneer farmers at Pentridge at the time Robert Langford Sidebottom was there and were also active in the Wesleyan Church with Robert. They had moved to Mickleham at about the same time as Robert and occupied land that was next door to Robert Langford Sidebottom's property. It is believed that there was a number of Wesleyan families that may have moved from Pentridge to Mickleham at around this same time.

The residents who were on the Local Committee were Messrs Hatty, Colclough, Cully, Pithers, Saunders, Thomas Langford and Robert Sidebottom. The Wesley School No 423 at Mickleham was closed on the 30th of September 1871 and replaced by the State School No 105. The school was made of locally quarried bluestone and completed in July 1871 at a total cost of £368.6.0. 

The Present

The bluestone schoolhouse built in 1871 still stands today and many children have been taught at the school since then.  The old bluestone building has been used as a the school library ever since newer weatherboard rooms were built in 1988.  The original bluestone porch used for a cloakroom, with a washbasin and hat and coat pegs have been replaced along with the leaking roof which is now corrugated iron.  The original fireplace collapsed in 1980 and was not replaced. 

The school was closed for two years from 1951 to 1953 due to a lack of pupils but continues to flourish strongly today and as at 2003 Mickleham Primary School No 1051 had around 113 students and in 2006 had 125 enrolments.

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