School History

European settlement of Ferny Creek dates from 1878, with the selection of land in the One Tree Hill area by William Murphy, his brother Richard Murphy, William Fetherstonaugh and Robert Hughes. In July 1884, William Murphy wrote to the Education Department requesting the establishment of a school to serve the needs of the community. This was refused and the cudgels were taken up by his wife, the redoubtable Jane Murphy who, between 1884 and 1894, persistently and strenuously pressed the Education Department on this issue. The Department’s standard response was that the number of children involved did not warrant the provision of a school.

The economic recession of the 1890’s brought with it widespread unemployment. Among the measures taken in response was the Settlement in Land Act in September 1893, as a result of which the Scoresby Village Settlement came into being. It involved approximately 1,000 acres south of the present One Tree Hill Road, which was made available to the village settlers in 10 acre allotments. One of the early collective moves by the new settlers was the organisation of an action group which, in June 1894, drew up a petition calling for the establishment of a school. A deputation consulted with the Minister of Education, and in October 1894, the Education Department requested the Lands Department to reserve a suitable site. The vacant school house at Sandy Creek near Macedon was transported by bullock wagon and erected on the chosen site opposite the present school.

State School Number 3228, One Tree Hill, was opened on 5 August, 1895 with George J. Mead as Head Teacher. (It was not until 1937 that the school’s name was changed to that of Ferny Creek.) Only months later the school building was almost destroyed when, in January 1896, a bushfire raged throughout the district. Apart from the threat of fire, the school in its early years, was faced with closure because of fluctuating attendances, mainly due to the differing circumstances of many families who had to either move about to find work or needed their children to work their own allotments. Amalgamation with Sassafras Creek and Upper Ferntree Gully State Schools was proposed on a number of occasions.

history-newspaperDuring the 1920s, many elderly people retired to the area and the school population fell. This trend was reversed in the 1950s as weekenders gave way to permanent residents commuting to work in the city and suburbs. An additional classroom was added in 1961 and another in 1965. As the school population continued to grow the need for a larger area became more pressing. In 1972, the present ten acre site was purchased. There then followed a struggle, almost as protracted as that waged by Jane Murphy, to secure a modern school facility upon this site.

Finally, due to the combined efforts of many parents, the present school was erected late in 1982 and officially opened in November 1983.

The school celebrated its centenary in 1995 and a plaque commemorating the occasion is located by the flagpole.

A book commemorating the Centenary was published in 1995 : The Little SchoolA Centenary History of Ferny Creek Primary School and Its Community by John Schauble