OCEAN GROVE PRIMARY SCHOOL
Rekindling the Wadawurrung Spirit in Ocean Grove
Ocean Grove Primary School is proud to announce the successful completion of its First Nations Cultural Heritage Grant project, “Rekindling the Wadawurrung Spirit in Ocean Grove.”
The school embarked on this journey to restore the cultural narrative to the region and celebrate and honour the rich heritage of the Traditional Owners of Country, Wadawurrung people. This innovative initiative was made possible through funding provided by the City of Greater Geelong’s First Nations Cultural Heritage Grant.
Working in consultation with Wadawurrung Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation, the project brought together talented Wadawurrung artist Billy-Jay O’Toole, First Nations students, school leaders and Visual Arts teacher Jo Chapman.
The centrepiece of this remarkable project is the front entrance gates of Ocean Grove Primary School, which have been transformed with a powerful Creation Story, titled “Dja.” In Wadawurrung language, “Dja” means ‘Country,’ and this magnificent artwork pays homage to the profound connection between the school and the land on which it stands. The Creation Story depicted on the entrance gates tells of the creation of this beautiful region, connecting students and visitors to the wisdom and enduring culture of Wadawurrung people.
In addition, the two tunnels in the school’s new inclusion playground, now affectionately named “Djila-Tjarri,” meaning ‘play’ in Wadawurrung language. The art installations in Djila-Tjarri offer an engaging and educational experience for students, incorporating traditional symbols, and contemporary art to create a vibrant and dynamic space that fosters inclusivity and celebrates cultural diversity.
Wadawurrung artist Billy-Jay O’Toole shared his thoughts on the project, saying, “The most rewarding part of what I do is giving kids a sense of pride, a sense of connection and leaving something significant behind that they can always hold close to them while they attend this school. They leave a legacy for future generations to be able to connect to also, that’s what makes this so special.”
The project, completed in October 2023, marks a significant milestone in Ocean Grove Primary School’s commitment to reconciliation and cultural education. It is a testament to the school’s dedication to providing a culturally rich and inclusive environment for its students.
OGPS student participants: Lilley, Ethan, Jaxon, Delilah, Archie, Indy, Izabella, Poppy, Tulip, Skylar, Sadie, Partick, Willow and Jimmie
OCEAN GROVE PRIMARY SCHOOL
The School was part-time with State School numbered 1313 Newington until it moved to its present site in Draper Street in 1892. The building was originally the school at the goldfields town of Steiglitz. The small, modest structure is now part of a complex of school buildings which reflect the changing history and culture of Ocean Grove.
The two cypress trees in the school grounds are said to have been planted by the Blackwell family who were early settlers in the area. Decreased attendance caused the school to be made part time with State School numbered 2029 Marcus Hill in 1928, and it was closed in 1930. It reopened in 1932 with a steady attendance that increased rapidly in the post war period of migration.
Ocean Grove State School in 1910 showing Mr. Hugh Clark and pupils. Hugh Clark taught at the school for almost 30 years and was Head Teacher from 1911 until 1925.
By 1960, there were three hundred pupils in eight classrooms, on a site now extended to five acres. Improvements effected by the committee, which first met on the 25th September 1911 with J.B. Menzies as Chairman, gained for the school the ANA Prize in 1966. Consistent work by the Mothers’ Club (now Parents’ Association) has provided excellent amenities and equipment.
The school continued to expand rapidly during the 1970s and 1980s with enrolments reaching 700 in some years. With the construction of a second government primary school in Ocean Grove in the Surfside area, the pressure was relieved on the Ocean Grove Primary School with a projected enrolment of approximately 450. In 2011 as part of the Federal Government’s Building the Education Revolution (BER) the school received a new state of the art learning facility equipped with a kitchen and flexible learning spaces to meet the needs of 21st century students.
Millis, P. Ocean Grove Primary School No. 3100: Centenary 1891-1991
Townsend, A. These Friendly Shores, p.378