At first local students in this region, who wanted a Technical education, had to go to either Dandenong or Warragul. This paralled the early High School years where Dandenong High or Warragul High were the only choices in this region for higher education, until Koo-Wee-Rup High opened in 1957 and then a raft of schools in the 1960s and 1970s (click here for more information)
Dandenong Technical School was established in 1954 with an initial enrolment of 272 boys. The first classes were held in the Scout Hall on the Princes Highway until the school was built on the corner of Stud Road and Cleeland Street. It was a more rural location than it is today as according to Vision and Realisation 'frequently, cattle being driven to the sale yards broke into the grounds and were rounded up by drovers and their dogs' In 1964 the total enrolment of all students including day students, evening class students etc was 2,000. In 1974, the TAFE system (Technical and Further Education) was established and by 1973 Dandenong Technical school was a TAFE college and it is now part of Chisholm. However a new Dandenong Technical School was established in 1981 at 136 Cleeland Street according to Technical Education Victoria*
Here's an interesting account from Bill Carlson about his time at Dandenong Technical School. Bill was interviewed by the Dandenong Journal in 2013 http://dandenong.starcommunity.com.au/uncategorized/2013-05-10/dandenong-tech-high-jinks-from-class-of-54/
If you lived at the eastern end (such as Bunyip) or southern end (such as Lang Lang) of the region and wanted a Technical education then you could have gone to Warragul Technical School.
Warragul Technical School was established in 1956 according to Technical Education Victoria. However Vision and Realisation says that technical classes were instituted at Warragul High in 1953 and they separated into two buildings on the same site 1959. The 1959 enrolment was 290 students from Form 1 to Form 4 and 100 other students including senior students, apprentices and evening class students. In 1969 the total school population was 919.
In July 1971, the Bunyip and Garfield Express paper reported that the Garfield Progress Association advocated for a Technical School to be built in the town as they said that everyday 100 students catch the train to either Drouin or Warragul to further their education and there were 700 children travelling to secondary schools at this end of the Shire. A Technical school was never established in Garfield but there was a report in February 1972 about Warragul Technical School going co-ed – there were 610 boys and 10 girls (all the girls specialised in art) The paper reported that the girls had settled into the school ‘in true women’s liberation fashion’ and ‘the order of the day is smart uniforms which contrasts pleasantly to the boys dress’ The Technical School and the High School combined in 1994 to form the Warragul Regional College.
This is the Bunyip Railway Station in the 1970s and shows the number of students travelling by train to school, as mentioned above. The train would have taken students to Drouin High, Warragul Tech and two Catholic Schools at Warragul- Marist Brothers and Our Lady of Sion, which combined in 1975 to become Marist Sion. I put this photo on Facebook and one of the comments said that Marist Sion students were in the last carriage and the 'Tech kids' travelled in the next 2 carriages. Photo is from Call of the Bunyip: History of Bunyip, Iona and Tonimbuk by Denise Nest (Bunyip History Committee, 1990)
It is no surprise that with the establishment of the 'Big three' industries at Dandenong in the 1950s - International Harvestor, Heinz and General Motors Holden and the associated businesses established in the area to supply parts, services and transport to these industries and thus the huge increase in population in Doveton, Hallam and Cranbourne North that the other Technical Schools in this region were centred at the western end.
The earliest of these was Doveton Technical School, established in 1963. Initially housed at Dandenong Tech it moved to it's permanent location in Box Street in 1964. Vision and Realisation reports that enrolments from 1963 to 1968 included students from Doveton, the area east of the Frankston-Dandenong Road, Narre Warren North, Beaconsfield, Pakenham East, Koo-Wee-Rup, Korumburra, Lang Lang and Cranbourne. Apart from the Doveton students they came by train to the Dandenong Railway Station and then caught a bus to the school. In 1967 the school began enrolling girls at Form One level. Doveton Technical School later became Doveton Secondary College and it merged with Dandenong High School in 2008.
The site of Doveton North Technical College in 1968, the year before it opened.
Doveton North Technical School opened in 1969. Vision and Realisation says that the school 'opened with background sounds from croaking frogs and mooing cows, a vista of green paddocks and stately pines'! Initial enrolment was 37 (or 45 depending on sources). From 1974 it was called Endeavour Hills Technical School, then from 1990 Endeavour Hills Secondary College, then from 1993 Eumemmerring College Endeavour Hills campus, then in 2008 it changed back to Endeavour Hills Secondary College. The school closed December 2012. You can read more about the school and see some more photos, here.
The last Technical School to open in the region was Cranbourne Meadows in 1981, this was a co-ed school however Technical Education Victoria, published in 1981, said that in 1983 the predicted enrolment would be 450 students, of which 100 would be girls, so clearly techical school education was still seen as something more boys than girls were interested in. The 1987 enrolment was 844. The school became Lyndhurst Secondary College, sometime in the 1990s.
*Technical Education Victoria 1983, published by TAFE Publications Unit, 1982.