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Williamstown High School launched its year-long centenary celebrations in October 2014 with a remarkable all-school assembly on the historic Pasco St campus.
The school community wanted to celebrate the milestone and showcase all the school has become. Williamstown High School has a remarkable history and fills a significant place in the suburb, one of the oldest communities in Victoria.
However, even before the launch, one of the year’s highlights was the installation of a plaque commemorating the school’s origins in 1867, when it was opened by the Williamstown Borough Council and local business people. The WHS Ex-Students and Staff Association installed this plaque on the wall of the school in Pasco St.
“So far as is known, this school is a unique example of the community and local council building and overseeing a secondary school well before the State Government’s involvement in secondary education,” said former student Dr Andrew Burbidge, who led the research of the school’s origins.
The October launch was conducted almost 100 years to the day that the state education department took over its management. The story of this momentous event, and of the following 100 years has been recorded in the official history of the school, Holding Fast, commissioned by the Ex-Students and Staff Association and written by parent and community member Emma Curtain. The book engagingly tells the school’s story, packed with anecdotes, profiles of key characters and lots of fascinating pictures.
The Association organised and hosted a wonderful reunion weekend in March 2015, at which more than 350 former students and staff returned to look over the school and meet old friends.
Almost all school events throughout the year have carried a centenary theme. Notably, our Year 12 students on both 2014 and 2015 have proudly carried the centenary logo on their rugby jumpers, and the 2015 school drama production told the tale of a school reunion 50 years into the future.
To mark our centenary as a state government secondary school and to leave a legacy for future generations, the school has decided to build a Centre of Excellence for the Performing and Creative Arts – the WHS Centenary Theatre.
A fund was launched in 2012 and building should start before the end of 2015. This remarkable facility will enrich the education of future generations of local students, and the wider Williamstown community.
The centre will include a 300-seat theatre, bathroom and kitchen facilities, full backstage rooms, and eventually music rehearsal rooms and art display spaces.
Full details about the theatre project can be found here About our theatre.