Historic gates to be restored

Wandin Yallock Primary School students Bonnie, Cameron wearing historical clothing with Emanuel and Presley in front of the jubilee gates. Picture: JED LANYON

Wandin Yallock Primary School’s famous jubilee gates are set to receive a makeover ahead of the school’s 150th anniversary celebrations.

Works have begun to temporarily remove the historic gates and its fittings where they will be restored before making their way back to where they have stood since 1929. Principal Trevor Vass wants to reassure Wandin Yallock’s friends and families not to be alarmed when the gates disappear in the near future.

“People continually come back to look at the gates,” he said. “I’ve met with lots of past students, who are well into their senior years now and that is one of their great memories.

“It’s great to have that connection to the past with the school. We’ve been here for 150 years, hopefully we can be here for another 150 years and those gates can stand there as a reminder of the quality education that we have provided for many, many generations.”

Grade 4 student Emanuel said he was looking forward to seeing the new gates and hopes they will be “a lot cooler”.

“It represents how long the school has been here for and the things it has done for the community,” he said.

The jubilee gates were installed in 1929 ahead of the school’s 60th anniversary in 1930.

The Healesville and Yarra Glen Guardian newspaper covered the grand opening of the gates and the diamond jubilee celebrations, which took place on Thanksgiving on 25 October 1929.

“The school is ideally situated on the crest of a hill at Wandin Yallock, where an entrancing view of the surroundings hills and valleys is always in evidence,” the newspaper article read.

“Sixty years ago the pioneers of the district selected this rise for a school site, and surely no more inspiring location could have been chosen for an institution dedicated to train the minds of the young.”

“The epoch was considered worthy of some lasting tribute, which the practical folk of Wandin felt should be serviceable and demonstrative, and the erection of memorial gates was conceived and carried into effect.

“The well-kept school grounds – which by the way have earned many good rewards for the institution – were surrounded by an attractive cyclone fence, and the addition of the handsome gates gives the enclosure an imposing and attractive appearance.”

Mr Vass said that the gates are in poor condition and after 90 years of wear and tear, the timing is right to restore them to their former glory.

“The uprights need some work in the footings to stabilise them. The actual metal gates are in okay condition but due to various works that have gone on around them, they no longer open and close easily, they scrape along the ground.”

The gates will be removed, sandblasted and sprayed in their original heritage green colours, as well as the archway and pillars which will be re-rendered. The project to restore the jubilee gates is supported by the Wandin Seville Community Bank Branch.

The school’s 150th anniversary celebrations will take place on Saturday 24 October, which will include the official re-opening of the jubilee gates.

Wandin Yallock Primary School welcomes past students and staff members to get in touch to help celebrate the occasion. For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/wandinyallockps/ or call 5964 4276.

“Come and get involved, we’d love to hear your stories,” Mr Vass said.