Place Details

Send Feedback

Newlands Primary School, Murphy St, Preston, VIC, Australia

Photographs None
List Register of the National Estate (Non-statutory archive)
Class Historic
Legal Status Registered (21/11/2000)
Place ID 18497
Place File No 2/13/011/0023
Statement of Significance
Newlands Primary School dates from 1951 and, with its hexagonal classrooms designed to maximise light and ventilation, is significant as one of the very few examples of this innovative school architecture. It is a significant work of the prominent Public Works Department architect, Percy Everett (Criteria B.2 and H.1).

The model school is an integral part of the Newlands Estate and, along with the nearby shopping centre, was designed by the Housing Commission of Victoria to be the central community focus of the development (Criterion E.1).
Official Values Not Available

The design of Newlands Primary School was revolutionary with its cream brick exterior, flat roof and six hexagonal classrooms, one for each grade, designed to provide maximum window area (and thus maximise light and ventilation) and to give every pupil an uninterrupted view of the board. The design is strongly influenced by the Moderne movement adapting to local conditions, with its experimental use of flat roofs, wide projecting eaves, regularly placed window mullions and two tone brickwork. The furniture was of modern tubular steel and wood. The original building has been extended by the addition of a second wing using the same forms. It can be compared with Darling East Primary School (now Solway) and Ashburton South which used the same forms and also Pakenham Consolidated School, built in 1951.
The Housing Commission acquired the Newlands area in the early 1940s. The area was originally farmland and market gardens. At first it was not considered part of the Pentridge district (Coburg) as the Merri Creek formed a natural border. The Housing Commission intended to produce a high quality estate with adequate provision for open space. The Newlands Estate was commenced in 1943 and was largely completed by 1953. Various theoretical influences were evident in its overall planning, the variety of housing stock and landscaping. One of the strongest elements in the overall scheme was the sense of community focus created by the shopping centre and the primary school. Newlands Primary School, No 4646, was built in 1951 to a design attributed to Percy Everett, the chief architect of the Public Works Department of Victoria (PWD). It was built on the borders of Coburg and Preston, as a model school with rooms of hexagonal design. Years of effort by local people culminated in its location in a desirable position on five and a half acres purchased in 1946. The first wing of six classrooms opened for school use on 7 February 1951. Henry O'Toole was first head teacher. Four additional classrooms became available at the beginning of the following year. Nett attendance in 1953 was 543, which taxed available accommodation, but the situation was relieved with the opening of Reservoir West School. Six rooms were added later, a library was added in 1961 and an art and craft room in 1964.
Percy Everett (1888-1967) was born in Geelong and attended Ashby State School. He was the first architecture student at the Gordon Institute, Geelong, under George R King. He worked as architect to the Geelong Harbour Trust for four years before going into private practice in 1910 with the firm of Seely, King and Everett. He studied abroad in 1913 and on his return to Australia in 1914 was appointed principal of the Brunswick Technical School. In 1932 he became the principal of the Brighton Technical School. He was permitted the privilege of private architectural practice while holding these positions. In 1934 he was appointed chief architect of the PWD and continued to take a keen interest in design, executing his own drawings. Among the buildings he was responsible for were: Russell Street Police Headquarters; State Insurance Office; State Treasury Extension; Department of Agriculture Offices; Burnley Horticultural College; Melbourne University Chemical School; Essendon Technical School; Caulfield Technical School; Heatherton Sanatorium and Donald Hospital. Everett was Chairman of the State Building Regulations Committee, Vice President of the Town Planning Association, a Fellow of the Royal Australian Institute of Architects and the Royal Victorian Institute of Architects and a member of the Architects Registration Board. He retired from the PWD in 1953.

Condition and Integrity
The integrity and condition of the school are good. (1991)
Apart from some deteriorating paintwork, both the condition and integrity of the school are good. (1996)
Murphy Street, corner Elizabeth Street, Preston.
Herald, 15 February 1951, p.3.
Vision and Realisation; A Centenary of State Education in Victoria. Vol. 3. Education Department of Victoria. 1973.
O'Neill, Frances, Percy Everett. Historic Buildings Branch.
Calleja, C., Hubbard, T., and Raworth, B., 1990, City of Coburg Heritage Conservation and Streetscape Study.

Report Produced  Sat Apr 19 23:57:58 2014