Faraday School House

The Faraday School House is situated in Central Victoria close to the Mt. Alexander goldfields. In 1851 gold was found in the Mt. Alexander area and within a year, tens of thousands flocked to the region. The historic townships of Chewton and Castlemaine were created by the Mt. Alexander Rush. Faraday was settled as an agricultural area and quickly grew supplying farm produce to the goldfields. Although Faraday was close to the goldfields, its granite soils were not gold bearing but it did have good rainfall and its position close to Mt. Alexander was favoured by the settlers.

Image courtesy of Wikipedia

Thomas Muntz arrived in Victoria in 1854 and spent two years on the goldfields without success. He took up land in the region and soon became an engineer for the regional Shire. It was while he was in this position that he designed the Common School in Faraday and Sutton Grange. In June 1868, a start was made on building Faraday School – after a series of errors and delays Muntz was employed to complete the building and he was responsible for the final design of the building which was completed in 1869.

The Common Schools Act of 1862 established a new system of Victorian education – it abolished by amalgamating the National and Denominational Boards of Education and so Common Schools were set up. Common Schools were all publically owned and from 1863, numbered – Faraday School House No. 797.

The plans for new schools were carefully prescribed and modelled on English Schools. One deviation from English schools was for windows to be placed on one long side, opposite the blackboard and fireplace which did not intrude into the school room. Ornamentation was not permitted. Almost half of the schools built in Victoria were made of Masonry – very few timber school houses survive. The Faraday School house was made of locally quarried granite and with a shingle roof.

In 1870 the school had an enrolment of 84 and an average attendance of 31 (17 boys and 14 girls).

The school closed in 1972.

Faraday School house today is of historical, architectural and social significance in the State of Victoria. It is one of only two Common Schools constructed of Granite in Victoria.

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