Database facts

Below are a list of facts and information that will support the use and understanding of the schools database.

Schools are generally arranged according to the main part of their name, e.g., The Oaks is listed as Oaks, The. Where words like The or North or Upper are treated as subsidiary.


Each school name in the database is followed by the name of the county in which the school is located. This method of geographical identification has been chosen because no other unit has had stable boundaries. Where the school has been located in more than one county because of site changes, the different county names are given. Where the school's exact site cannot be established, alternative county names are given.

A county is a territorial division of the State for administrative purposes. Most of the eastern states and parts of the western states were divided into counties in the 19th century and later further subdivided into parishes. They have no political function - their only purpose was for the registration of land ownership. The historical land records reviewer webpage allows you to click on the link of each county, which gives a map with the location of the relevant county in NSW.

Types of schools

The type of school is explained in the glossary which includes the nature and history of each type of school.

Opening dates

The first date given in each entry indicates the school's opening date. In most cases a month is given as well as a year. It should be noted that while the year is almost always known for certain, in some cases the only guide to the month of opening has been the appointment date of the first teacher. It is possible that the opening month given is only an approximation for a minority of schools. The convention has been adopted of using January to indicate that the school opened at the beginning of the school year, even though on many occasions the school year has begun in February.

Closed schools

Where a school is not now in operation, its entry ends with its closing date, for example, public school June 1900-December 1935. Where the school is currently operating, its entry end with the word open.

Temporary closures

Many schools have had temporary closures, often for very brief periods. Closures have not been indicated if the school was operating for at least part of each calendar year.

Half-time schools

Where one school operates half-time with another, the partner is generally indicated. If a school has had four or more half-time partners these are not named, only the designation half-time being used.

House to house schools

The designation house to house is used to indicate a teaching station in a House to House School or, where such details are not available it may indicate the whole school. The entries do not give the names of the partner teaching stations, even when these are known.

Uncertain dates

Exact dates are sometimes not known, for example, the date at which one station became part of a house to house school or the date of the creation of a superior public school. Entries in a number of cases may therefore read, for example, House to House c.1882-September 1884 or Public School June 1890-c.1904.

Many schools have had more than one name, with some even having up to four or five names. The following principles have been adopted in identifying and dating changes of name.

Main entries

All main entries in the database have been placed under the current name of the school. For example, Emmaville was first known as Vegetable Creek but its operation details are given only under Emmaville.


Cross-reference entries have been included for most schools whose names have been changed. For example, Vegetable Creek see Emmaville. To simplify the database no cross-reference entry has been given where the change of name occurred in the first calendar year of operation.

Details of changes

Details and dates of changes of name are included at the end of the main entry, preceded by an asterisk. For example, the entry for Emmaville concludes *Vegetable Creek until 1882. All names are listed, including those used in the first calendar year of operation, unless the name was used for less than a month.

Omission of portions of name

Where subsidiary words like Creek have been eventually omitted from a school's name, only one entry is provided, because the original name would follow immediately or very nearly after the later name. The omitted portion is given in square brackets, for example, Moonee [Creek] or Kangiara [Mines]. Details are included at the end of the entry, for example, *Moonee Creek until September 1909.

Spelling changes

Where a significant change of spelling has occurred, a cross-reference entry is provided. For example, Warragee see Worragee. Spelling variants have been used very briefly are indicated only at the end of the main entry. For example the entry for Rangari concludes *Rangaroi until 1912.

Half-time schools

An entry for a school which operates half-time generally identifies the partner school. If the partner has had a change of name then the entry will give its later name. For example, Wisemans Ferry operated half time from 1874 to 1881 with a school named Australian Farm. However, the entry for Wisemans Ferry reads half-time with Leets Vale May 1874-April 1881 because the name Australian Farm was changed to Leets Vale in 1915.

The following principles have been adopted in distinguishing between schools of the same name, and in determining the separate identity of schools of the same name in the same locality.

Numbering of schools

Schools of the same name are distinguished by numbers. They are numbered according to the date at which the school first used the name, not according to the school's opening date. Thus, Yowaka (1) was opened in 1892 while Yowaka (2), although opened in 1869, was known as Greigs Flat until 1942. In some cases no number has been added because the name was used only during the first calendar year of the school's operation and the name has therefore been given no cross reference entry. For example, the database contains entries for Currajong (1) and  Currajong (2), and the third school called Currajong which opened in 1881 and changed its name to Trelowarren before the end of that year is left unnumbered and is referred to only at the end of the entry for Trelowarren.

Schools in different areas

Schools of the same name in different areas can be distinguished not only by number, but also by county. The name of a nearby town is also sometimes indicated. There are a few schools of the same name serving different areas of the same county.

Schools in the same area

Several criteria have been used in determining the separate identity of schools of the same name in the same area. In most cases there can be no doubt of the separateness of the schools in question, but some decisions are open to debate, especially in the light of local knowledge or detailed examination of a school's history. The following list covers most categories of geographically related schools:

  • A new school frequently wins the name of an older school still operating. For example, Junee (1) became Old Junee in 1893 when the younger school until then known as Junee Junction became Junee (2).
  • A new school often operates concurrently with an older school, gaining the older school's name only after the closure of the first school. For example, Terranora (2) opened with the name Bungalora before Terranora (1) was closed.
  • An old school may be replaced by another school(s) and a new school of the same name can only be regarded as separate. For example, Newcastle High School (1) was officially replaced by Newcastle Boys and Girls High Schools, while Newcastle High School (2) was formed by the merging of two other schools.
  • Two schools of the same name not operating concurrently are generally considered separate when either the first school changes to a different name before its closure, or the second school opens under a different name before changing. For example, Bangaroo North (1) changed its name to Townsville before closing and Bangaroo North (2) opened later.
  • Two schools have been considered separate when there is a gap between them of around fifty years or more. For example, Widwiega (1) closed in 1896 and Widwiega (2) opened in 1955. Similarly, schools have been considered separate when the first operated very briefly and there is a long gap before the opening of the second; for example, Terrigal (1) operated only from 1873 to 1875 while Terrigal (2) opened in 1910.

There are various schools that were previously located within NSW and under the control of the Department of Education. Below is a list of schools that have moved to different jurisdictions.

Schools transferred to the new colony of Victoria, July 1851
  • Bacchus Marsh
  • Colac
  • Pascoevale
  • Wangaratta
  • Warrnambool
  • Yuroke
Schools transferred to the new colony of Queensland, December 1859
  • Drayton
  • Warwick (1)
Schools in the Australian Capital Territory
  • Schools marked with an asterisk were located in the area proclaimed the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) in January 1911, but had closed before that date. The NSW Department of Education conducted schools in the ACT for the Commonwealth authorities until December 1973.
Schools in Australian Commonwealth Territory
  • Jervis Bay #
  • New Bristol
  • Norfolk Island
  • Wreck Bay Abor
  • Norfolk Island was transferred to the Commonwealth in 1914, but the NSW Department of Education has continued to conduct the school there.

# Three schools marked have operated in the Jervis Bay area which was surrendered to the Commonwealth in 1915. New Bristol had closed before that date, but the NSW Department of Education conducted Wreck Bay Aboriginal School and Jervis Bay Public School for the Commonwealth. Jervis Bay was still in operation when the Commonwealth education authorities took charge in January 1974.


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  • School operations

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  • Centre for Education Statistics and Evaluation
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