Warburton Primary School has a rich and long history, being established in 1875. The school was originally situated at a different location in Warburton, and was relocated to the current locale in 1965.
In the early days, the Yarra River was better known as the Yarra Yarra, which was the white settler's interpretation of the Woiwurrung (spoken by the Wurundjeri people) name for the river, which was "Bayrayrung."
On the 19th of October, 1888, Upper Yarra was constituted a Shire. The area of the shire was first 444 square miles but is now 1585.07 square kilometers. The population of the shire was then 160, mainly miners, small farmers, and sawmillers.
Warburton had been a gold mining town and then a timber harvesting, farming and tourist place. A railway from Lilydale was opened in 1901, stimulating the development of Yarra Junction and providing the means for conveying timber from Powelltown and related products from the Britannia Creek timber-treatment works (1907). The O’Shannassy water scheme (reservoir and aqueduct to Surrey Hills, Melbourne) was completed in 1914.
From 1875, Mr Collins began teaching the little school. He was a very dedicated teacher and received very little salary from the Education Department. He was forced to build a cottage for himself and family, but the school grounds were still not fenced despite a multitude of requests. One on the 16th of January 1886 states:
"I have no stable for my horse, nor a paddock, and I am obliged to spend many hours in catching it when required for duties at Hoddles Creek [school]."
The parents of the community were willing to help the headteacher in many ways, despite the fact that they were quite a poor community. It was, therefore, a wonderful effort that enough funds were subscribed to establish a circulating library for the use of the pupils attending both Warburton and Hoddles Creek schools.
In Winter, the weather was often very poor and many strudents could not physically get to the school due to inclement weather and poor road access. Mr Collins was instructed by the Department of Education to work three days at 1485 [Warburton] and two days at Hoddles Creek, per week.
In 1891, there were 41 students at Warburton State School 1485, and the headteacher Mr Collins was summoned to work at State School 260 in Gisborne. The new headmaster was to be Thomas W. Simpson who continued to teach the children in the very cramped schoolhouse.
After much debate between residents, the Deparentment of Education and the media, a contract was let for a new wooden building, two rooms each 36'6'' x 21'6'' to be completed by the 6th of June 1908.
And so on the 27th of July 1908 the new school buiulding was opened and students began classes at their new location in Dammans Road.
In 1938 School Inspector Loughrey wrote: "the grades are in the hands of teachers who are earnest, conscientious, and of more than average teaching ability, and good steady progress is to be expected. Discipline is excellent."
The number of students continued to climb, until in 1943 it was decided that a new site for a larger school schould be obtained.
After a great deal of negotiation, nine acres of land were secured in Horners Road, Warburton. This was formerly the site of the La La Guesthouse, which had burned down some years prior.
There was an incresing need for a High School in the Warburton area, and in 1952 work began on the new building with five rooms and on the 3rd of February 1953 the new school was opened with central classes conducted in the old school building.
In 1958, Warburton State School because a Higher Elementary School and in 1959 there were 80 pupils in Year 7, 45 in Year 8, 30 in Year 9, and 14 in Year 10.
In 1959 the schoolhouse in Dammans Rd. which had served tyhe community so well for 50 years, was destroyed by fire. Students were housed in the Mechanics Hall, and ultimately new rooms were built at Horners Rd.
Then, the Department of Education declared Yarra Junction to be the site of a new High School, and in 1963 the Upper Yarra High School was opened. All high school students who had attended Warburton Higher Elementary School went to Upper Yarra High School, and Warburton reverted to a Primary School in 1963 with 126 puils.
The school has remained a Primary School ever since, nestled in the naturally stunning location of Horners Road. The school has continued to to foster a love of learning in the minds of the young children of Warburton and champions high quality education, paired with a profound connection to the community and the natural world around us.