Our first school building was first erected in 1847 for church services and was used as a school on weekdays.
Shelford P.S was originally called The Leigh School and opened on 1st July, 1853. In that year it had an enrolment of 38 students.
S.P.S first obtained the number 379 in 1863 under the Common Schools Board.
With the provision of the new church in 1859, the original building was used exclusively as a school.
In 1866 our heritage listed ‘bluestone’ building was added to the old wooden schoolhouse under the leadership of Head Teacher George Hunt. The original wooden building was demolished in 1873 just before the Church sold the school grounds, including the bluestone building, to the Department of Education.
Although the town’s name was changed from ‘The Leigh’ to Shelford in 1853, the school’s name was not changed to Shelford until 1908.
Distance played a major role in Shelford’s early history. The children mostly walked to school or rode their horses, leaving them in the Church Stables for the day. In winter, the boys cut and carted the wood for the school’s large open fire. This came in handy for drying wet boots, and lessons were often taught sitting around the fire during Winter. During Summer, it was not uncommon for the swallows to fly in and out of the classroom as on sunny days the doors were left open.
The teachers at the school boarded with families in Shelford or stayed at the Coffee Palace near the bridge. Originally there was a teacher’s residence of seven apartments, built in 1856 on the other side of the Leigh River.
In the 1930’s a former student remembers the annual visits by the school dentist and the excitement when students tried to count the bales of wool on the first semi-trailer to pass through the town in 1934. An important event for the school at this time was a donation of Arthur Mees Encyclopaedias and the first school radio, both provided by the Mother’s Club.
After the Second World War, pupil numbers rose in the school increasing from 17 in 1952 to a peak of 65 students in 1957. Conditions in the bluestone school room became very overcrowded, with floor space to accommodate only 45 students. It was common during this time for students to be taught outside during the warmer months to ease congestion, and in the cooler months saw students working in ‘the old woodshed’.
In late 1959 the bluestone building was described as ‘Antique and neglected, in unprotected and windswept conditions unsuited to modern education’. By 1962 the bluestone building was painted internally and externally and a small new porch was added. In the years to follow a number of new additions were made to the school in the form of new classrooms, septic toilets, a woodshed, shelter shed and water tanks.
In 1984 with town water now connected, a beautification program was undertaken at the school with the installation of a sprinkler system for the oval and the planting of 300 trees and shrubs. In 1985 and 1990 S.P.S won the Australian Natives Association, Schools Garden Award.
The schools first computer, a commodore 64, was purchased in 1985.
Our 125th and 150th celebrations have been enjoyed by past students travelling back from all corners of the globe, to remember and honour their primary school experiences at Shelford P.S. Now in 2022, we reflect fondly on the incredible history of our school as it continues to grow and evolve, maintaining it’s commitment to providing quality educational opportunities for the Shelford community.