Proposals for a secondary technical school in Northcote had been discussed since the early days of the First World War. Early, community driven campaigns were repeatedly quashed by the Victorian Education Department, who claimed lack of funds and the exorbitant price of establishing a technical school in the area amongst its reasons.
By the mid-sixties, secondary schools in the Northcote area were over crowded. The local community – along with nearby high schools – pressured the Education Department to build a school whose curriculum was dedicated to practical trade subjects. Finally, on February 2nd 1966, the Northcote Technical School was opened. The initial enrolment consisted of 70 boys and 27 girls and classes were temporarily held in four rooms at Wales St. Primary School.
After many difficulties securing a permanent site for the school, building began on land situated between Clarenedon, Turner St and Sparks Avenue, East Thornbury. Despite the location the school kept the name Northcote Technical School.
In 1968 the school was moved from the rooms at Wales St. to the new site. The first school buildings consisted of a trades block – including 6 workshops, 3 classrooms and a temporary kitchen – 3 portable classrooms, and a brick storage building called the “Ahern annex” after the previous owner of the property.
In 1969 3 more portable classrooms were added and construction began on the main buildings on the south side of Raleigh St.
In 1989 the school was renamed Darebin Parklands Secondary College to reflect the wider reach of the school’s curriculum and the shift away from purely technical education.
An agreement was signed in 1991 between Darebin Parklands Secondary College and Thornbury High School that lead to the merger of the two schools under one name – Thornbury Darebin Secondary College. The school operated on two sites with juniors occupying the Thornbury campus and seniors at the old Technical College site.
In 1998 new amenities were built on the Thornbury school site that permitted the amalgamation of the two campuses. The site of the old technical school is now home to Distance Education Centre Victoria.
In the cyclical nature of things the term College was dropped in 2004 and the campus was renamed Thornbury High School to reflect the traditional secondary academic curriculum offered.
Darebin Libraries. Local History File: Schools, Northcote Technical
Darebin Libraries. Local History File: Schools, Thornbury Darebin Secondary College
Lemon, Andrew. Northcote Side of the River. North Melbourne (Vic): Hargreen, 1983
Northcote Leader (Melbourne), 25/09/1991, Northcote 1882 –
Northcote Leader (Melbourne), 08/02/1991, Northcote 1882 –