Naracoorte High School at the beginning of its second century continues to serve its district well.
The modern buildings set in beautiful grounds that are among the state’s best dominate the entrance to the town and provide students with an ideal working environment. Secondary education began in Naracoorte in 1909, when the voices of a number of parents led to the establishment of an ‘Agricultural Class’, providing some post-primary education for the children of families in the district. This class was attached to the Rolland Street Public School and was taught in the old Church of England Hall nearby. Student numbers grew and community pressure grew too, to ensure that students could move from primary education to secondary education without having to leave home to attend boarding school.
The result was the new Naracoorte and District High School built in 1913 on Gordon Street, a building now occupied by the TAFE campus. For fifty years the old school drew students from a wide area which spread as far as Penola, Bordertown and Kingston and served this population through two World Wars and a deadly Influenza Epidemic, when it was converted temporarily to a hospital. By the beginning of the 1950s, with a surge of population following WW2, the then Head Master Mr. Alec MacPherson, and the School Council, led by Mrs Stuart and Mr Jack Farmer, began to pressure the Government for a new school on a bigger site. The site that was chosen had been used by the police for their operations in the early years of settlement in Naracoorte, later leased for the Dartmoor Golf Course. The new school was opened in 1955.
Over the years since then a steady process of development has produced new buildings to replace the well-known ‘prefabs’ which had seen the education system through the Baby Boom and beyond. The Williamson Hall, named for the then Chair of the School Council, Mr. Clem Williamson, provided shelter and a place where the whole school could assemble.
The ’Flexible Space Unit’ was completed in 1976, built in the period of largess when Gough Whitlam was Prime Minister, and included a spacious and well equipped library. A major redevelopment, spanning three years, was begun in 1993. This gave the school a new frontage, housing administration as well as a new compacted science facility and technology areas.
The school has been responsive to changing social and employment pressures and has been a leader in a number of aspects of vocational education, while continuing to support a sound academic programme.