Kurri Kurri Public School

Learning Caring Respect for All

Telephone02 4937 1235


Our History

Town mural of our school then and now.


History of Kurri Kurri Public School


  Proclaimed as a town in 1902 and established during 1903 on the back of the coal mining industry, Kurri Kurri is a beautiful Hunter Valley town nestled on the edge of the Wattagan State Forest and vineyard country.

A school was built early on in 1904, and in 2004 the school celebrated 100 years of providing quality education for many generations of children.

On 4th May, 1903, Stanford Merthyr School opened with 221 pupils with more than half from Kurri Kurri. On the same day, Pelaw Main School opened with 228 children enrolled with 91 from Kurri Kurri.

As a railway line intersected Stanford Merthyr and Pelaw Main from Kurri Kurri, public opinion persuaded the Government to erect a school within the township.  

A 5 acre 1 rood 9 perches site, Section 31, bounded by Cessnock, Allworth, Rawson and Alexandra Streets had been reserved for the erection of a school.  


The successful tenderer for the school building was Harry Russell of West Maitland whose contract price for the 3 classroom building was 920 pounds.  


The building with 2 classrooms 40ft x 24ft and one 27ft x 22ft had been completed by 28th September, 1904. 

The Minister for Public Instruction, Hon. B. B. O'Connor on 1st October, 1904 officially opened the school.

39 year old Henry Brown, Head of Stanford Merthyr School was appointed to Kurri Kurri on 1st October, 1904. The school opened in the week ending Friday, 7th October with an enrolment of 345 pupils which had grown to 407 four weeks later.

Mary McLeod, Oliver Munday and Estelle James were subsequently appointed to the school in October, 1904.

By June, 1905 the school had outgrown its accommodation and Lewis Hall was rented for extra space. A three classroom addition to the school building, each 27ft x 22 ft, was completed in 1906.

Because it had sufficient post-primary enrolments, Kurri Kurri was designated a Superior Public School in November, 1906.

Growth continued and Lewis Hall was rented once again from 8th April, 1907.

From 1907, the school had a primary and infants department with classes being taught on the verandah as well as in the six classrooms. The Gallery building was built as an Infants Department with a central assembly hall and six surrounding classrooms.

Plans were made for a separate building for the infants department with a central assembly hall and six surrounding classrooms. Another brick building was planned for the teaching of manual training. The successful tender was for 2,907 pounds by C. B. Smith. This building was one of the first of its type in New South Wales. The School of Arts was also rented before the new building was completed.  

On 28th April, 1908, the P&C held a luncheon in the new infants building which was opened by local Member for Parliament, Matthew Charlton.

Lewis Hall and the School of Arts were no longer rented.

Elsie Stephens was Infants Mistress from the beginning to the end of 1910.

44 year old John Broome took over as Head in 1911 and  a weather shed was built.

The P&C Association also supplied a turning lathe and fretwork machine in 1911 for the manual training room.

During 1912, a Junior Technical Evening Continuation School was established in the two largest of the original classrooms with kerosene lighting because the town had no electricity.

In 1913, Superior Public Schools were re-organised so that Kurri Kurri, from 1913 to 1955, operated with an attached secondary Junior Technical School and Home Science School.

The population was continuing to grow and during 1913 a double portable classroom was built, while the weather shed and corridor of the boys and girls department were used as classrooms. Another portable classroom was completed at the school in August, 1914.

Plans were accepted to erect a building with six classrooms plus other renovations from George Grace for 3,535 pounds.

44 year old Albert Cooke was appointed Principal to Kurri Kurri in 1916.

The girls department occupied the new building on 22nd January, 1917, with the boys remaining in the renovated old primary building.  



The influenza epidemic of 1919 affected Kurri Kurri and in May there were 76 cases of the disease and the school building was being used as an isolation hospital - the school remained closed until August.

Enrolment continued to grow and the Presbyterian School Hall was rented for classes. Further additions to the school were completed in 1924 and the hall was no longer required.

56 year old Alfred Uren was appointed Head in 1925. James Henry was the Head of the school in 1927. Charles Hicks was Head from January to July, 1928. John Adam was Head from July, 1928 to March, 1930.

Major building work was carried out at the school in 1928 and 1929, which included two new classrooms on the eastern end of the boys department, staff room, HeadMaster's room, three classrooms, staff room for the girls department, domestic science wing and alterations to the manual training room.

During 1930, the P&C Association, with a 10 pound donation from the Australian Workers Union, held a soup kitchen three times a week at the school.

Walter Martin was Head during 1930 and 1932. Alexander Dundar was Head to the end of 1934. Alexander Robertson was appointed Head in November, 1934 and remained to the end of 1938. Arthur Jacobs succeeded Robertson and remained until 1941. Alfred Shrubb was Head in 1942.

From 1940, three 1 year courses in Domestic Science and Junior Technical subjects were conducted so that pupils did not have to travel to Cessnock or Maitland to do the Intermediate Certificate.

During 1942, part of the school was used by the National Emergency Services.

Harry Peake was Head during 1943. Patrick Cunningham was Head at the school from 1944 to the end of 1947. William Bloomfield was Head during 1948. Eric Lake was Head to 1952.

Growth of the town and pupil numbers continued to rise. A 9 acre 3 roods 39 perches site bounded by Stanford, Deakin, Greta and Northcote Streets was dedicated for school purposes in 1948 and Kurri Kurri High School was opened in 1956.  

In 1979 the school celebrated it's 75th Anniversary.