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Sunshine Technical School
Derby Rd, Sunshine

mente et manibus
With mind and with hands

Sunshine Technical School Photo 01.jpg
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Sunshine Secondary College 28th March 20
Sunshine Tecnhnical College 2010 (Fromer
Sunshine Secondary College (Old Girls Sc
Sunshine Technical School Girls Building Foundation Stone 2021 Photo 01.jpg
Sunshine Secondary College 28th March 20
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Sunshine Technical School Photo 03.jpg
Sunshine Secondary College Photo 02.jpg
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As H.V. McKay's Sunshine Harvester business expanded there was a requirement for a school to train the company's apprentices. In 1911, H.V. McKay wrote to the Victoria Cabinet offering 2,000 pounds and 4 1/2 acres of land in Derby Rd for a technical school,


On the 7th July 1913, the new Sunshine Technical School opened with a wooded administration building with six class rooms and a large galvanised iron workshop for the trade apprentices. Mr George Baxter was appointed principal with assistant teachers, A.J. Dunlop (Maths & English), W.W. Anderson (Art) & H.B. Ernest (Maths & Science). Seventy students were enrolled in the first year of which 44 were apprentices from the Harvester Works.

Over the next few years, the school expanded it's subjects to teaching commercial and science subjects. Then in 1915 the school was opened for girls to attend to learn shorthand and typewriting. To separate the boys from the girls the science lab was partitioned off.

During the First World War Years (1914 - 1918) there was a difficulties with staffing and enrollments. The school was also used to provide vocational training for wounded returned soldiers.

In 1919 during the great influenza epidemic the school was used as a hospital.

The new girls' school was established in 1922 with Miss Nash as the Head Mistress with 33 girls enrolled.

During the 1920's the school students numbers continued to grow with 191 boys & 118 girls enrolled in 1926.

The 1930's saw the Great Depression effecting the lives of every Australian and the school was urged to cut costs.

By 1938 there were plans for a new Co-educational school to be ready by 1939.

On the 10th October 1940, saw the official opening of the new girls school building.

During WW2, air raid shelters were located on the site which is now occupied by the school hall and at the south - east corner of the site near Leith Ave. The school was once again used to provide vocational training for wounded returned soldiers.

In 1947, the new boy's trade block was opened. The school was also included in post-war migration programme and saw it's first students from war torned Europe. 

The American blinded author, disability rights advocate, political activist and lecturer Helen Keller visited the girl's school in 1948.

It wasn't until 1954 when the school was finally raised in status as being listed as a technical school in Victoria. The current principal Mr. J. V. Shelton was then promoted in keeping with the new status the school now holds.

In 1962, saw the opening of the auditorium and gymnasium that could sit 1,100 people and a physical education shower block. The 1960's also saw the start of many portable class rooms to be installed on site to house the ever increasing student population. The portables south of Leith Ave became known as Siberia and the portables north of Leith Ave as Mongolia.

Disaster struck in 1967 when a fire destroyed the science and math's block and the school canteen and administrative block which were contained in the original weatherboard building erected by H.V. McKay in 1913.

The 1970's saw the construction of the new library and the new H.V. McKay trade wing for apprentices located off Morris St. In the same year the school purchased the Monument Creek State School, Romsey for the purposed of converting it into a school camp.

The number of portable class rooms had by now increased to 59. The significant change however was the introduction of co-educational classes. Considering the separation of the sexes started in the 1910's it took the school 60 odd years to achieve this milestone. Also by the 1970's the school student population had reach a point where an annexe was built of portable classrooms in Gengala Rd, West Sunshine.

In 1971, the new Library Resource Centre and the Monument Creek School Camp are opened.

In 1975, the Australian rock band AC/DC played a concert in the school hall. The bands lead singer Bon Scott had lived in Couch St, Sunshine in 1955.

In 1976, major new construction of new school buildings commence. These were completed and opened in 1978. Upon the completion of the new buildings many of the portable buildings were removed. The names of two of the portable sites Siberia and Mongola are now history.

By 1992 and with amalgamation and restructure of six schools, the Sunshine Technical School was renamed as the Sunshine College and operates four campuses, three junior campuses for years 7-10 in Ardeer, North Sunshine and West Sunshine and the senior campus in Graham St caters for Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) for years 11 & 12. The College also runs the Harvester Technical College in North Sunshine (opened 2014) which brings the purpose of the school a full circle back to H.V. McKay's original vision of a technical school. The College also runs a Deaf Facility from the Ardeer and VCE campuses.

In the 2000's the school's hall once again featured on Australia's TV but this time in good light as it was used in AAMI's Ad with Rhonda.

The centenary of the school was celebrated on the 13th October 2013 where students from the 1930's through to current years enjoyed catching up with each other. Various rooms were set up to display memorabilia from each decade. Over 1000 people turned up but this only represents a small percentage of the students who can proudly say "I went to Sunny Tech".

in 2020 the site was closed and the students were relocated to the College's Lachlan Road (former Sunshine West High) and Northumberland Road (former Sunshine North Technical) campuses.

Brimbank City Council has placed heritage overlays on the former Sunshine Technical School buildings and the site is waiting re-development.

In 2021, the Victorian Government issued a tender for the demolishment of the school buildings.

The Sunshine & District Historical Society has a significant collection of the school's memorabilia which was kindly donated by the school in it's last year of operation

Past Principals

Sunshine Technical School

1913 - 1930 George Baxter 
1930 - 1946 L.G Leroux
1944 -  R.G. Perry (Six months rec
1945 - 1946 G.F. Bull
1947 - 1949 J.R. Wilson
1950 - 1950 E.L. Willison
1950 - 1950 G.F. Bull
1951 - 1960 J.V. Shelton
1958 -          S.M. Veitch (Two months)
1960 - 1969 C.R. Pittock
1961 - 1961 E.J. Heard
1970 - 1974 O.R. Roberts
1975 - 1977 J.F. Hennessy
1977 - 1977 A.E. Edwards (Acting)
1977 - 1983 D.R. Boyd.
1983 - 1983 W.R. Margetts (Acting)
1984 - 1984 D.T. Walker (Relieving)
1984 - 1984 W.R Margetts (Acting)
1984 - 1984 W.A Carruthers (Acting)
1984 - 1991 Peter L Forbes.


Sunshine Secondary College

1991- 1991 G. Lee 
1991 - 2000 Peter L. Forbes
2000 - 2005 D.L. Brown


Sunshine College

2005 - T.A Blunt

Ref: Sunshine Technical School - History, September 1980.

Ref: Sunshine College Website.

Ref: The Sunshine Recorder.

Ref: Learning from the Past

Photos: S&DHS

Sunshine Technical School WW2 Roll of Honour

List of service personnel who at sometime attended the school. Note the list may be incomplete.

Ref: Sunshine Technical School - History, September 1980.

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