North Perth Primary School is one of the oldest continuously operating schools in Western Australia. Established in 1899, the school has seen growth and retraction in numbers as family population trends changed over the course of a century. North Perth Primary School was added to the State Register of Heritage Places in 2005.
The establishment of North Perth Primary School was a result of the spread of settlement north of Perth when the local population following the gold boom of the late 19th century.
Late 19th Century
Residential development around the North Perth area progressed from the 1880s, particularly following the completion of the Fremantle to Guildford rail line in 1881 and the gold rush.
The Woodville Estate opened in 1890 and development was rapid. Along with the construction of roads, tramlines, post offices and police stations to service the growing suburban population, schools were needed to educate the children of the area’s residents.
In 1897, one and a half acres of land in the Toorak Estate near Fitzgerald Street, was purchased for a school. Two years later, on 30 January 1899, the North Perth District school opened with 131 students. The school consisted of a brick building with two main classrooms that could be divided by an iron shutter.
The North Perth Primary School was the first civic development within the locality and its construction encouraged further settlement in the suburb. The school’s original are significant examples of school buildings designed by the Public Works Department around the turn of the century.
Early 20th Century
By 1921 North Perth Primary School was the largest in the State and its resources were stretched. The girls walked to Leederville School for domestic science classes, and the boys walked to Highgate School for manual arts. In January 1922 the North Perth Infant School opened to cater for the large number of students.
The three pavilion classrooms that have been combined to form the Arts and Crafts Centre were built between 1914 and 1920 to manage the overcrowding that was common in schools throughout the State.
The construction of the Infant School in 1921, to a design influenced by the Montessori teaching method, reflect changes in educational philosophies through the twentieth century.
The 1924 central hall addition to North Perth Primary School was the last of its type constructed in a Government school in Western Australia.
The War Years
In 1943 a school playing field was created and named Goonderup ‘a meeting place’. Students provided manual labour, moving sand to create a flat area where the oval could be planted.
Following World War II, the wave of immigration to Western Australia saw the school population become more culturally diverse – a rich environment that North Perth Primary School maintains to this day.
Late 20th Century
In 1990 the Infant School was incorporated into the main school after numbers dropped to 80.
Inner city population growth from urban infill and the rise in apartment living has seen the population of the area once again increase.
North Perth Primary School had over 400 students in 2014.
SourcesTown of Vincent Municipal Heritage Inventory – Thematic History A Brief History of the suburb NORTH PERTH – Town of Vincent Local Studies 2005 Heritage Council of Western Australia – Register of Heritage Places – Assessment Documentation