Explore Melbourne Polytechnic

Through the Decades – 1910s


A century of Technical and Vocational education in the northern suburbs of Melbourne was heralded by the ringing of a cow bell throughout the tough streets of Collingwood in the winter of 1912.

Although Collingwood Technical School was officially opened on 30 July 1912, an enterprising new principal, Mathew Richmond, had taken to this unusual form of recruitment (VTAC was some years away).

Richmond used the bell to attract the attention of local boys who, up until this time, spent most of their days hanging around Collingwood’s street corners. He offered to teach them mathematics, trade drawing and practice and eight or so of these ‘larrikins’ took Richmond up on his offer and became the first students of Technical School No. 22.

Collingwood Technical School was part of a move by newly formed State Governments to assume control and improve the standard of Vocational Education and Training.

In Victoria, this responsibility of government was further formalised by the passing of the Education Act 1910.

Collingwood Technical School was to be a flagship for educational innovation in Victoria as it was the first Victorian Education Department school to be modelled on the late nineteenth century German concept of providing pre-vocational education to school-age children plus evening classes for working youth and adults.

In the decade that followed Collingwood Technical School became known for its civilising affects on working class boys and noted for its excellent engineering, science, art and commerce programs. The college also developed alliances with major industries such as the boot making trade and contributed to wider community projects such as the Returned Soldiers Training Scheme.

Student Enrolments

1912 – Within three weeks of commencing in 1912 Collingwood had 57 enrolments for its evening classes.

1913 – 60 students enrol for the first day classes at CTS.

1919 – Collingwood Technical School had 208 secondary and 493 post secondary enrolments.

Final Siren

Final Siren: In the VFL Collingwood enjoyed the greatest success with three premierships (1910, 17 and 19). 

Winning Post

Melbourne Cup winners for the 1910s were Comedy King (1910), The Parisian (1911), Piastre (1912), Posinatus (1913), Kingsburgh (1914), Patrobas (1915), Sasanof (1916), Westcourt (1917), Night Watch (1918) and Artilleryman (1919).

Related Information

Maintained by Web Developer and Administrator, M&CC.
Last Modified: June 4, 2015

More pages from: Explore Melbourne Polytechnic