Memories of a Stirling East Primary School Student

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Text and Images: Chris Chardon

I was a student at the “old” Stirling East Primary School. I lived with my family in the main street of Stirling. My first year at the school was 1954. Choats Passenger Service ran a bus service to Stirling East and Crafers Schools from the main street – I think the fare was 2/- per week. The idea of walking that distance was daunting to a young student. Mr. Potter was the head teacher for all of my time at Stirling East. He and his family lived in the house adjacent to the school in Pepper Avenue. The school had an enrolment of about 70 students.

I always looked forward to Mondays. There was no such thing as fresh bread bakers on weekends in the 1950s. Consequently on Monday I was given 2/- to buy lunch which nearly always consisted of a buttered roll and a bottle of Fanta. Occasionally I would save 3d from one Monday which would be applied to buying a buttered bun as well the other items on the next Monday.

On Fridays we would have a test, watch a documentary and usually in the afternoon played sport against nearby schools. The student with the best test results would be allowed to sit at the back of the class until the next test. The other “prize” of good test marks was that you became the ink monitor. In those days there were no biro pens that we have today – each desk, at which two students sat, had a provision for inkwells. We used a pen with a nib.

It was an exciting day when the swimming pool was opened in 1956 by Mr Playford, later Sir Thomas.

Heathfield High School opened in 1963 but the grade 7 Stirling East class finished primary school in 1962. We had the option of attending Mount Barker High School, Oakbank Area School or schools in the city. I and most of the grade 7 class chose Mount Barker High School. Choats also ran a bus service to Oakbank and Mount Barker.

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The Old Stirling East Primary School, 2019

What are your memories of school days in the Mt Lofty District? Do you have photos of the old Stirling East School? Or the school’s swimming pool? Contact us at or drop into the History Centre at the Coventry Library, 63 Mount Barker Road, Stirling.