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Western Australia - Archival Item

Burnbrae - buildings and works (1941 - 1967)

  • Burnbrae Home and School location map, 1954

    Burnbrae Home and School location map, 1954, 26 February 1954, courtesy of State Records Office of Western Australia.

Reference No
AU WA S24- cons1497 1941/0538
Legal Status
State Records Office of Western Australia Reference code

Burnbrae - buildings and works is a general maintenance and building works file about the school which was on the same site as the Burnbrae Presbyterian Children's Home. It also contains letters, notes and memos about the school operations and disposal of the school buildings.


Access Conditions



The 'Burnbrae building and works' file was created by the Education Department and is organised in reverse date order (that is, with the most recent item at the beginning of the file). The file contains information that may be of interest to people who were in out of home care at the Burnbrae Presbyterian Children's Home. Please note that these records give the names of particular children. To see the original records, you can request the file from the State Records Office of WA.

Prior to being schooled on site, the children from Burnbrae Presbyterian Children's Home had attended the Byford School, with the Home receiving a Driving Allowance for children aged under 9 years. Overcrowding at Byford stopped this. On 8 April 1941, the Director of Education wrote to the Under Treasurer explaining that the cost of expanding Byford school for the 20 children from Burnbrae was not the best course of action. To open a school at Burnbrae would avoid the need for extensions at Byford and stop the payment of the driving allowance.

On 9 June 1941 the Government School started at Burnbrae in a 3-room cottage. On 28 June 1941, the Council of Presbyterian Children's Homes and the Minister for Works signed a Memorandum of Agreement for the rent of 10 shillings per week. Over the years, partitions were removed until there was a single large classroom.

Miss Stewart from the Child Welfare Department visited the school on 3 September 1946.

On 31 October 1946, the boys were taken to the 'Seven Seas' exhibition at the museum and to see 'Outlaw of Sherwood Forest' at the pictures, catching a train to Perth.

On 18 December 1947, the Head Teacher V. Green wrote to the Chief Inspector of Schools asking for additional accommodation for school age children at Burnbrae. Fifty three children were being taught in a single classroom or, as an Inspector's report in November 1947 said, 'on an open verandah exposed to the afternoon sun'.

On 25 November 1948, the state Treasury gave permission for £1 per week rental to be paid to Presbyterian Children's Homes for the use of a cottage as a school until the government school was ready.

Correspondence shows that the school building was ready for operation on 30 September 1949. The file (page 179) contains a handwritten drawing by B. Downes, Head Teacher of the Government School, Burnbrae dated 26 February 1954, showing the relative location of the school, Children's Home and major roads.

On 24 April 1953, the Head Teacher reported an infestation of 'Stickfast Fleas' which were increasing in numbers daily, biting children and staff and leaving 'red lumps'. Correspondence in the file noted that spraying to stop the fleas had occurred by 20 May 1953.

In November 1953 the Medical Officer's report noted that the school had 'very bad grounds' with steep gravel and water. Plans had been drawn up by the government architect in 1951 for level playing fields, but this had not gone ahead. The superintendant's report of Burnbrae school on 18 November 1954 also described the playground as gravelly and hilly.

On 24 April 1959 the Education Department gave permission for Scotch College to use the Burnbrae school and grounds for agricultural education. In a letter requesting this permission, the Headmaster of Scotch College noted that two acres of the property owned by the Presbyterian Children's Council and used by them for Burnbrae Children's Home, had been resumed to build a government school, grounds and headmaster's cottage (agreement about this had been reached in late 1944).

On 8 December 1964, the file shows that the Minister for Education was told that control of the Burnbrae school buildings had passed from the Education Department to the National Fitness Council so that they could be used by the Youth Hostels Association.

Related Organisations

  • Burnbrae Presbyterian Children's Home (1938 - 1956)

    Burnbrae - buildings and works, State Records Office of WA includes a drawing of the location of the Burnbrae Home, Burnbrae Primary School and major roads and information about the disposal of the Burnbrae Home's buildings.


Burnbrae Home and School location map, 1954
Burnbrae Home and School location map, 1954
26 February 1954
State Records Office of Western Australia


Prepared by: Debra Rosser