Steiglitz State School - Good News

Update - October 2017 - THE SCHOOL IS MOVING!

The new site for the old school is in Regent Street - uphill from the little white church, hard up against Cooper's Orchard.  The school will fit in behind the beautiful old peppercorns at the front of the orchard.

Parks Victoria will incorporate the unused piece Government road into the Steiglitz historic site once the road closure is complete. 

Why that site?

  • The school will sit lower then on other sites...a major concern for a building so much taller then other wooden structures in town. Meaning it will now blend in, rather then stand out.

  • Creates a little 'village green' feel with St. Paul's Church.  Not only great for BtS events, though perfect for future needs to pay for itself...through wedding/party hire.

  • Maintains the pattern of distance between existing town buildings.

  • Site isn't prone to flooding

  • Whatever toilet/water infrastructure is eventually installed, won't threaten Sutherland's Creek.

  • Gives the School a chance of bushfire survival.

  • Placing on an old road, it won't be covering a historic site.

  • Easy to protect from future vandalism.

  • It was also the only site which allowed the school front to face the road, and the doors to face St. Paul' just works!

Giant THANKS to each & every one who played role throughout this BtS goal.  

Attending meetings, passing on contacts, supplying water to the thirsty masses, keeping others in the loop, constantly supporting everyone, writing letters, making endless phone calls, turning up at the oddest places, digging up valuable information, inspiring us, and so much more.  


Update - 2 March 2017 - The site survey is scheduled for completion very soon and we will be looking at siting and orientation.


Being part of any community has both benefits and pitfalls.

18 January 2017 was at the top of my ‘benefit’s list.    It was amazing! 

The seed was sown 7 years ago, when the Back to Steiglitz Association (BtS) discovered the historic Steiglitz School was at risk.  The only way to save it was relocation. Though ‘how’ to get that achieved was a massive problem.

The years between then & now, have taken us on a frustratingly long and tiresome journey.  Our first member to take up the challenge (Chris Kempers) kept at it for 3 years.  Though being tossed from one government department to another left her dizzy & disheartened, so she quit.

I took up the challenge next.  Four years on, my head felt bruised from all the brick walls I kept banging into.  Like Chris, I began to feel as if my efforts were futile ... this school was never getting moved.

Until about a year ago, that is.  That was a year like no other ....  and one topped off with a cherry-of-a-day on 19 January.

After all these years,  at 10am on 18 January - Golden Plains Shire (GPS), Parks Victoria (PV), BtS, National Trust, CFA, various Doctors & Professors and numerous locals all met at the Bert Boardman Recreation Reserve.

Our collective aim?  To find three possible relocation sites for the Steiglitz School…in the heart of Steiglitz itself!

You should have seen us all.  Led by GPS wonders -  Greg Anders and Jill Evans, we armed ourselves with maps, hats, sensible shoes, great big grins, and icy cold water (thank you Joanne Burns of GPS), then set off.

A quick look at said school was a must, for many had never met this grand old dame in person.  Some, like Lyn & John Pierotti (National Trust), imagined it the cute little cottage many schoolhouses of that era were.  Whereas, built to cater to a bustling gold rush town,  the Steiglitz School is actually huge.  So, after a moment of awed silence and appreciation, photos and measurements were taken.  Then our convoy headed back to ‘town’…ready & rearin’ to find that perfect spot. 

With a population of 7 (total of Steiglitz residents when everyone’s home), our band of 30 strong was a sight to behold.  En masse we’d stop as each new site was suggested.  Without comment, someone’s long strides would measure it out, quickly followed by someone else, either Chris Smith (PV) or Dr Justin Oakley (Monash Uni), pulling out an ancient map or two. Around which we’d quickly huddle, eager to discover whether this site was a viable option.  

Local Steiglitz-ites, Colin Smithyman, Phil Dickson, Peter Sharp and myself, added our knowledge about which buildings had once stood there.  Dale Aston & Tim Waller (GPS) mixed in relevant surveying or permit points.  Maude CFA members, Ralph & Kathy Nordin, were a wealth of fire knowledge & considerations.  Topped off by Stuart Lardner with a touch of PV’s perspective. 

At one point a large mullock heap in the centre of town offered Paul Roser (PV), Maude local Dr Gray (Deakin Uni), Kathryn Oakley, and Steiglitz locals Bill & Roz Speirings, the perfect viewing point to discuss the lay of the land.  While Cooper’s Orchard offered another perspective for our Maude, She Oaks, Steiglitz Community Planning Group reps (Alan & Pauline Tournier) and animated BtS members, Kathy Mar, Sue Roden, Gill Dickson, Chris McKenzie and Jack Boardman.  And although my husband, Terry, said he was talking with the other BtS members, his stained hands make me think he’d momentarily snuck off to enjoy Mrs Cooper’s mulberries!

Apart from one old hippy in the mulberry tree, thinking back on what we must have all looked like, the term ‘poetry in motion’ comes to mind.  Sounds daft I know, though this was a very special moment indeed.

At no other point in the 7 years had all these groups come together, or even come close to working as smoothly as we all did that morning.  Suddenly, we were as one.  What, for years, couldn’t be decided upon, was nutted out in minutes.  There’s no other word for it apart from ‘incredible.’

So incredible I really felt the need to share it with all of you.  For this is not just a BtS achievement, it’s a community achievement.  Many of you reading this right now had a hand in making such a special moment happen.

Our GPS CEO, Rod Nicholls…what can we say about you Rod, besides - you’re a priceless asset.  Having a CEO who loves his community as much as you do, has been a rare gift indeed.   A giant ‘thank you’ for all you’ve done.  Ex-Mayor Jenny Blake…there’s a touch of your special magic in there too Jen.  Then there’s our wonderful Dr Fiona Gray…you really got the ball rolling last year when you wrote a paper on the school’s plight.  We love you so much Fi we’re considering increasing our official Steiglitz population to 8…lol.  Parks Victoria…your recent support for this has been both vital, and so encouraging for we who had almost given up.

Though there’s also many more who own a part of this accomplishment.  All those who signed our petitions.  Those who attended BtS fundraising events each year.  Strangers who, after reading an article on the school, spread the word amongst their friends.  And then there’s the very special individuals, like young Thomas Welsh.  

Thomas, a Grovedale lad (and newest BtS member), seems to have taken the BtS under his wing.  For while most young boys would be playing outside during their holidays, Thomas was helping our plight by ‘sending letters to politics to save the school’, as his Christmas card told us.  Brilliant!

Before I go, I’ll share one last little snippet.

Our favourite relocation site was one with a rather smile-inducing twist.  Turns out Steiglitz residents had been trying to get this very same school moved into town more than a hundred years ago.  We found their original petition.  Guess where they wanted it moved to?  Yep!

With ridiculously happy Steiglitz grins,                                                                                            

Lindy Allinson and the Back to Steiglitz Association.


If you’d like to keep up with exciting School developments, get involved yourself, or even become a BtS member and keep an eye on our website for progress and more info -