Shepparton South Technical School
From seven dairy produce, needlework and cookery pavilions in the Shepparton Showgrounds to an eighty-three-room brick veneer complex – such is the story of Shepparton South Technical School. This improvised beginning reflects the rapid development of the Goulburn Valley and the increased desire for technical education in the mid-1960s, combined with the pressures on State finance in the post-war boom. The school began in the Showgrounds pavilions in 1966 with an enrolment of 125 Form 1 students, under J Hennessy, Principal with a staff of five. The two-and-a-half years in the Showgrounds were as stimulating as it was frustrating, in that the pioneer spirit called forth a resourcefulness from both students and staff. Life was varied: National dairy exhibitions, sheep-dog trials, car rallies, seasonal workers in caravans and circuses regularly invaded the showgrounds whilst school was in progress. One comment overheard during the National Dairy Exhibition was “This must be the Education Department Stand.” In October each year the Annual Shepparton Show required every single item to be stored. During that week educational tours in North-East Victoria and Gippsland were arranged. In 1966 every boy with his parents’ permission went on the trip thanks to the sponsorship of many local service clubs.
On 6th April, 1967, the first School Council met with Councillor K Riordan as President. By 13th June 1967, tenders for the new school had been called. This brick-veneer building comprised an Administration wing, Amenities block, Trades, Humanities and General wings. The home economics wing, originally planned, was postponed.
Enrolments increased: By 1967 Forms 1 and 2 with 13 sections totalled 274 pupils. By 1968 Forms 1,2 and 3 in 20 sections totalled 450 pupils, and by 1969 with 33 sections 576 pupils. In 1967 four portable classrooms helped to overcome crowding. By 1968 Trade classes were held in the Trade wing at the new school at Wilmot Road, ferrying students back and forth to the Showgrounds twice daily. In July 1968 the new school was officially occupied. Ovals were in the process of being developed, along with a complex drainage system costing $2401. The site works were under way. That year, a new Principal, J Thomlinson, took over from Hennessy, with forty members of staff.