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Hazelwood Ridge School 1768

This school was established in October 1876 and was the first school in the Morwell District. Schools Inspector Holland estimated that the initial enrolment would be approximately 36 children. The families expected to benefit from the school were: Firmin, O’Hara, Amiet, Applegate, Geale, McGauran, Johnston, Heesom and Richards.

The building was constructed of wattle and daub and was white washed inside and out, it measured 36 feet by 18 feet. The structure was partitioned to allow for the teacher’s apartment. The roof consisted of sawn ironbark shingles. The whole building cost 52-9-0. The builder was Mr. Heesom; he received the sum of 6 from the Education Department in recognition of his labours.

After the establishment of schools in Morwell and Yinnar the school at Hazelwood Ridge suffered a significant drop in enrolments and was forced to operate on a half-time basis with Yinnar South in 1894-1898 and with Driffield in 1902-1908.

The school at Yinnar south was destroyed by the bushfires that ravaged the area in 1898; in 1908 Driffield School suffered a similar fate. As a consequence the school enrolment rose from 18 to 28. Hazelwood Ridge returned to full-time status between the years: 1898-1901, and again from 1908 until the school was officially closed in December 1944 due to an insufficient number of pupils.

The old school site is now covered by Hazelwood Pondage.

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