In the late 1830s pastoralists followed the lead of Hume and Hovell who had passed near to the present site of the Yackandandah township in 1824. The area remained sparsely populated until the discovery of gold in the region. When gold was found on the Yackandandah Creek in December 1852, a village of tents and wooden buildings grew up on the creek banks. The establishment of a police camp in 1853 helped formalize the legitimacy of the settlement and the first of the Yackandandah township allotments were set out in 1856.
Yackandandah Primary School began in colonial times as a Church of England school in 1855. In 1862 The Victorian Government introduced the Common Schools Act and in 1874 the school came under the governance of the newly formed Department of Education. Since that time Yackandandah Primary School has continued to educate the children of the region. A look through old registers and documents shows family names continuing through generations.
When the school first came under the governance of the state government in 1874 the first pupil listed on the register was Isaac Isaacs, aged 8. He went on to become the first Australian born Governor General of Australia.
While the school has had several renovations over the years the front of the school still maintains the original façade from the early 1900’s structure and the students still have art lessons in the historic part of the building.
Timeline of Events:
1852 – First tent school in the gold fields.
1855 – The first school in Yackandandah is opened on July 1st.
1863 – First numbering of schools. Yackandandah School – Number 694.
1864 – Sir Isaac Isaacs, number one pupil in the register at Yackandandah Common School.
1872 – The new school opened on November 1st 1872, No. 1103. The previous school No. 694 was struck off the roll. The new building consisted of three rooms and the architect was James E Murphy.
1872 – Education Act introdcued – Education to be secular, compulsory until the age of 15, free in basic subjects.
1873 – Education Department established and Yackandandah School became a State School. John Bezley was the first head teacher. District Inspector Craig reported that, ‘Yackandandah was the most respectable school in a large district’.
1874 – Another brick building was added at a cost of 522 pounds.
1888 – Negotiations between the Church of England and the Education Department terminated with the sale to the department of the adjoining acre and a half of land. The price was 400 pounds.
1891 – A second brick school house was built on a more central part of the now enlarged ground, and it stands today as the dominant feature of the school complex.
1899 – The timber school at Eurobin was transported to Yackandandah and re-erected for use as an infant room. The first brick building, built 27 years earlier, no longer matched the needs of the school and was sold for removal.
1913 – District Inspector Thomas reported the need for more accommodation in the infant school. The department allocated 2900 pounds for two new classrooms, a cloak room and for the renovating of the school to take 180 pupils the next year. While the work was in progress, the public hall across the road was used. The children were back in their school in May 1916.
1924 – The department bought a six-roomed weatherboard residence for the head teacher.
1939 – Electricity was taken to the school.
1942 – 1945 – The RAAF used the head teacher’s office as a control room for the air observation corps, who were based at Wangaratta.
1948 - The school committee installed a wireless system with three extension speakers.
1958 – A bicycle shed was constructed by the school committee as well as a new shelter shed to replace the old one.
1964 – A new room for seniors was added to the school.
1972 – Centenary Celebrations.
1973 – Back Creek School Closed.
1974 – Purchase of old house next to school grounds for future playground extensions.
1976 – Construction of the rock wall by prisoners from Beechworth prison.
1977- Gas heaters and new drinking taps were installed.
1979 – A new portable classroom was sited, relieving the overcrowding of classrooms.
1981 – Upgrading of old building including a library at the front of the building, librarian’s office, store room, principal’s office, sick bay, staff room, staff toilets and shower. One classroom was retained in the old building with four relocatables positioned on the eastern side of the school. Two houses on the west end of the school were purchased to allow expansion of the playground.
1982 – An old portable classroom was removed to make way for a new large relocatable double classroom. The windows on the old building were glazed (previously had been bricked up).
1983 – Regionalisation was introduced and local communities became more responsible for schools. Another large double relocatables classroom was added and covered walk ways were constructed.
1988 – Construction of new toilets.
1994 – Wooragee Primary School developed as an annex of Yackandandah Primary. Japanese language introduced to the school. Permaculture area developed in the school grounds. CASES administration system introduced to the school.
1999 – School Council purchase of building – used as an additional classroom.
2000 – Use of ‘His Place’, a hall across the road as an art room.
2002 – Construction of a new permanent classroom. Indigo Shire Outside School Hours Care uses school facilities.
2003 - Construction of a new courtyard area. Development of a three year plan to upgrade computer resources throughout the school. Yackandandah Primary managing all aspects of Outside School Hours Care.
2004 – A 20% growth in enrolment resulting in a portable classroom installed on the west end of the school. The commencement of the school organised Annual Billy Cart Race event.
2005 – 150th celebrations including a bush dance and the planting of a time capsule. Multipurpose room facilities improved. CASES 21 pilot school. Development of the School Garden Club.
2006 – Installation of a new playground. Development of new School Motto.
2007 – Installation of new interactive whiteboards in each classroom, shade sails installed over play area and old building roof replaced. New school logo introduced. Community Links Regional Award.
2008 – Building Futures process – Masterplan developed. New school website.
2009 – Netbooks in the 5/6B classroom as part of a pilot program. Building Futures process continues.
2010 – Construction of new school/removal of all portables. Refurbishment of old building including new art room.
2011 – New school complete and official opening.
2018 – Basketball court resurfaced.
2019 - A new portable classroom was sited, again relieving the overcrowding of classrooms.