Eastern Goldfields – Secondary Education since 1914
It is simply amazing that wherever you go, you come across people with an Eastern Goldfields connection – whether as students, teaching or support staff, parents or community members connected to the school.
Eastern Goldfields High School – a school which started in 1914 – was given a new start in 1979 as Eastern Goldfields Senior High School and in 2006 was like a parent taking a back seat while 2 offshoot schools emerged – Kalgoorlie-Boulder Community High School and Eastern Goldfields College.
On 21 May 1914, E.G.H.S. was opened, thus becoming the second High School in the state. In the Western Argus, 2 December 1913, tenders were called for the construction of a secondary school. The tender of £3860 by H. Blomfield was accepted and work commenced in January 1914. On Thursday, 28 May 1914, Eastern Goldfields High School was officially opened. Among those present were:-
The Minister of Education … Mr. T. Walker, M.L.A.
The Minister of Mines … Mr. P. Collier, M.L.A.
Director of Education … Mr. Cecil Andrews
Chief Architect … Mr. Hilton Beasley
Bishop of Kalgoorlie … Dr. Golding King
The school, a wooden building with accommodation for only two hundred students, was built. It was not large, but quite befitting the unreliable goldfields. Its classrooms were large and airy, and therefore dusty, and its verandahs were wide. It was surrounded by a large gravel playground, scantily shaded on the outskirts by the inevitable pepper trees, under which the students in the warmth of the Australian summer, enjoyed their leisure hours.
As the population grew and education advanced, the school was too small and more rooms had to be added. The playground was enlarged and two sheds built. Plans were drawn up in 1947 for three new classrooms to be built on the basketball courts and these were built in 1948 in readiness for the influx of students caused by the closure of standards 7 and 8 in the Central Schools at the end of 1948. In 1958/59 the school was again added to and the whole of the north wing was built. The High School still lacked accommodation for the number of students wishing to attend and in the 1950’s there were two High Schools. Boulder High School occupied the site of the old technical college at the corner of Piesse Street and Brookman Street and included an annexe in part of the Boulder Central School. This was changed in 1962 when the South Wing of the school was built and the two schools amalgamated.
At last in the 1970s, work was commenced on a long sought new High School. Progress was slow but the first stage of building was opened by the Hon. J. Dolan on 14 March 1974 and work continued in stages. By late 1978 the new High School’s final block was completed and the sprawling historic buildings of the “Old School”, holding happy and nostalgic memories of students who have attended throughout the past sixty four years will no longer be filled with the noise of learning.
A new millennium dawned and while change was the theme leading up to this time we were all certainly taken by surprise with a change in direction for Eastern Goldfields. While we were all ready for a change in direction on the EG site a decision was made at the 11th hour for our Year 11s & 12s to be relocated to the grounds of Curtin University Kalgoorlie into buildings that were deemed to be very under-utilised.
Early in 2005 the government of the day announced that Eastern Goldfields Senior High School would be broken up into a distinct senior college for Years 11 and 12 and middle school for Years 8 to 10. The new model would take effect from Semester Two, which started mid-July although the new schools would not formally commence until the start of the next school year. This was the last year that our Year 12 students would graduate from Eastern Goldfields Senior High School.
So – a new beginning for Eastern Goldfields. A tinge of sadness arises from the fact that that Eastern Goldfields Senior High School ceases to exist but there is also a sense of excitement acknowledging new beginnings. Our secondary students from Kalgoorlie-Boulder and surrounds will draw on the lessons of the past while facing future challenges and achievements. As always, we wish them well – along with all future students attending Eastern Goldfields beyond its centenary.