In 1873 education became compulsory for all children. At this time there were very few schools in the Preston area. There was one school running in South Preston, known today as Preston South Primary School but known then as Common School, No. 824, Gowerville. This school opened in the mid 1860s and taught around 30 children.
When Tyler Street State School first opened it was known as Preston (North) State School, No. 1494. The Tyler Street school was built on land purchased for £100 from Samuel Jeffrey, an early settler of Preston, whose farm was on the land where the school is now situated. He originally called the area ‘Irishtown’ but later settlers changed the name to Preston. Jeffrey Street, close to the school, is named after him.
The building of the school began in August 1874 by Robert Burr Parsons but was delayed in October following his accidental death. The school was completed by his foreman John Rennie.
The school opened on 14 January 1875 with room for 160 children. Andrew Hanna was the first headmaster. His wife Mary and son Henry also helped with the teaching of the children. The nearby Wesleyan and Anglican schools closed at the end of 1874 so many of the children enrolling were former students from those schools.
For three years Andrew Hanna taught the upper grades whilst Mary and Henry taught the others. After that time the family moved to Footscray and taught there. Andrew died three year later. Henry came back to teach at Preston North as headmaster with his wife in 1885. In 1895 he became dual headmaster with Preston South as the school amalgamated because of the depression in the 1890s. At this time the children at Tyler Street stayed up until grade three and then had to complete grades four to six at Preston South. Tyler Street added four new rooms and went back to teaching all grades in 1904, just after Northcote Primary joined with the South Preston Primary School.
Henry Hanna travelled between schools on his horse, Dick. They were well known personalities in the area.
By 1926 Tyler Street Primary School had over 1000 students enrolled. The school had an additional nine rooms built to accommodate the fast growth in enrolments. The nine rooms added in 1922 not being enough. The number of staff in 1926 was 1 headmaster, 17 assistant teachers and 9 juniors. A total of 27 overseeing 1060 students. In 2011 there were 737 enrolled students and 57 staff.
Toady Tyler Street Primary School is known as Preston Primary School and is situated in two locations. Prep and Grade 1 are located in Bowden Street, a block away from the main school, still located in Tyler Street, where students from Grades two to six attend.
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Carroll, Brian & Rule, Ian (1985). Preston: an Illustrated History. Preston: City of Preston.
Department of Education and Early Childhood Development. (2012). 2011 Annual Report to the School Community. Preston Primary School. School Number: 1494
Retrieved from http://www.vrqa.vic.gov.au/StateRegister/Provider.aspx/GetFile?Type=AnnualReport&EntityID=1&SchoolNumber=1494
Forster, Harley W. (1968). Preston Lands and People. Melbourne: Cheshire.
Preston Primary School. (2012). Retrieved October 9, 2012, from http://www.preston-ps.vic.edu.au/
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