State School 34 opened as a National School in 1853. Classes were held in tents and temporary structures until 1875, when work began on a fine red-brick building on the corner of Humffray and Mair Streets. For many years enrolments were substantial, reaching 936 in 1905, and the alumni included Sir Robert Menzies. The school was prominent on many fronts, being the Ballarat centre where examinations for the ‘Certificate of a Child being Sufficiently Educated’ were held. It was also associated with Melbourne Teachers College and Ballarat Teachers College. The school was closed at the end of 1992 and sold to private interests. Until 2018 it operated as the Antiques & Collectables Centre, and there are plans to convert the former school into a luxury hotel.


Ballarat Primary School (Humffray Street) then
Photo courtesy of the Public Record Office Victoria


Ballarat Primary School (Humffray Street) now
Photo by Hayden Bader, May 2021


Although the current owners have City of Ballarat approval to convert the building into a boutique hotel, it is not known how the 2021 Expression of Interest process will unfold. Meanwhile, the former school sits at the intersection, doing nothing.


Humffray St State School – public Facebook group