Mylor Primary School

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Text: Ann Herraman.

Image: Peter Holderness.

Mylor Primary School – a local school with a flowering gate.
There is something special about small country schools which have been formed and maintained by local communities over many decades. Mylor Primary School is one of these. In her centenary publication, The Light in the Valley, Mylor Primary School – 1894-1994, local historian, Jan Polkinghorne, describes the struggles and ongoing commitments which Mylor families have made over the decades to ensure that their young people could be educated within the local community and within the town itself. The Mylor campaign to establish a local school began in April 1887 through a series of disappointments until final success in 1894.

The final stages of the campaign are described as a struggle between competing interests:-
“…The Crafers Board of Advice in a letter dated December 4 th , 1893, recommended Mylor use the Wesleyan Church instead of ‘wasting Government money building a school.[GRG 18 series 1 Docket
608 4/12/1893 PROSA]

Parents’ letters from Aldgate Valley pointed out the unsuitability of the Church as a school…On January 22 nd 1894 instructions were given by the Education Department for the preparation of plans for a school at Mylor. A government docket shows that the dimensions of the building were to be 40ft x 20ft and that the building was intended to house 90-100 children…Tenders were called and due by February 2 nd 1894. The school was complete in October 1894 at a cost of £714/6/5 ($1429).

At last the parents of Mylor could relax. Mylor had a public school right in the village.” Success could not be guaranteed and overtime the community has rallied all of its resources to resist closure and ensure continuity despite departmental pressures. The campus now includes a rambling mix of old and new buildings which reflect the fluctuating growth patterns over 125 years.

In 1973 a modern library was officially opened by their most celebrated former student, The Governor of South Australia, Sir Mark Oliphant. In springtime the students at Mylor Primary School enter through an
archway of pink flowering roses. Beyond the school gate the resources of a small village include the commemorative records of the Mylor War Memorial, access to the picturesque Mylor Oval edged by the Onkaparinga River and the community tennis courts.

The streetscape framed by grand old trees includes family homes, the village café, the general store, Coopers Rural and Hardware Supplies, the Mylor Cotton Memorial Hall and beyond, the faithful CFS and the Rockford Estate leading to Hacks Bridge along the Strathalbyn Road.

In this small village the assets and services of a community embrace and nurture a place which Jan Polkinghorne so aptly describes as – The Light in the Valley”.

Further information can be gained from Jan Polkinghorne’s two histories:-
Mylor, ‘Valley of Praise, 1991
Mylor Primary School Centenary, 1894-1994, ‘The Light in the Valley”, 1994
Mylor History Group Resources, Cotton Memorial Hall, contact Brian and Leonie Barker-

Do you have memories of Mylor Primary School as a student, parent or teacher, or as a local resident? Contact us at or drop into the History Centre at the Coventry Library, 63 Mount Barker Road, Stirling.

Read about one of Mylor Primary School’s early headmasters, Bernard McCaffrey and his family

Read about one of Mylor Primary School’s famous students, Sir Mark Oliphant