Bass Hill Public School

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Bass Hill Public School - The History

This year Bass Hill Public School is celebrating 100 years!

Where the school now stands the upper area was known as “Upper Bankstown, Liverpool Road.”

Bass Hill was named in about 1920 to commemorate the name of explorer George Bass, who explored the George’s River in 1795.

Over a seven year period more than 40,000 pound was spent on accommodation (AUD$2,507,428.00)

In 1920 a deputation waited on the Minister for Education to build a school here. Three acres of land at a cost of 250 pound (AUD$21,300.00) and plans for a three-classroom building were prepared.

The school was not ready for occupation until March 1923 due to a “lack of finances”. Cost 2,724 pound (AUD$268,604). Mr John Fagan was appointed and opened with an enrolment of 66 students.

To commemorate our Centenary we will be holding celebrations on Friday 24th November 2023. For more information, see our Facebook page.

Below is a timeline of events held and improvements undertaken at Bass Hill Public School:-

1921 - New public school announced for Bass Hill.

1923 - ‘A building which has been erected on a new site fronting Liverpool Road, Bass Hill forms portion of the scheme for a larger building, which will doubtless become necessary to meet the future requirements. The part now erected consists of three classrooms to accommodate 48 children each, with staff and headmaster’s rooms, hat room and veranda in the main building. Two weather sheds each with lavatories attached, and including bubbling drinking fountains, separately for boys and girls, have been provided, as well as the necessary sanitary accommodation for each sex. The main building is a single storied brick structure, covered in with an iron roof and is of simple design.’

‘The rooms are well lighted and have cross windows and ceiling extract ventilation on the most up-to-date lines.’

‘The contact was executed by Mr John Burnett at a cost of approximately 2,724 pound, under the supervision of the architect to the department.’

1943 Aerial Photo of BHPS

1927 – ‘Thirty-two affected with ptomaine poisoning after eating tongue sandwiches at the annual picnic of pupils of Bass Hill Public School. Only seven (adults) however, were in a condition sufficiently serious to warrant their treatment at hospital.’

‘The picnic was held on the banks of the George’s River at Deepwater. The first case occurred shortly before noon. Thereafter the cases of poisoning among the party developed with alarming frequency, and the Canterbury Ambulance had to send two ambulance wagons and a force of officers to administer emetics, and to take the more serious to hospital. ‘

1929 - School Gardens – ‘A section devoted to native flowering plants grown in school gardens was a feature of the autumn show last night of the Teachers’ Horticultural Society.’


  • School Garden – Bass Hill Public School
  • Economic Garden – Bass Hill Public School
  • Flower Garden – Bass Hill Public School
  • Infants School Flower Garden – Bass Hill
  • School Garden (within 50 miles of Sydney, open only to schools of fourth class and under) Bass Hill ‘

1929 – ‘Official inaugurating the “Australia-Avenue” scheme – a grand national highway of Australian trees stretching from Sydney to Canberra and later right through to Melbourne.’

‘The Governor, Sir Dudley de Chair planted several indigenous trees along the Hume Highway – the first tree was a Western Australian flowering gum at the junction of Hume Highway and Macarthur Road. On the highway near Bass Hill Public School, the Governor planted Sydney Blue Gums, Eucalyptus trees and spotted gums. The children at Bass Hill had learned “an Australian forest song” which they sang to the music of one of the marches of the American Federal Army, the chorus going…’

“Hurrah, Hurrah! We’ll throw the axe away,

Hurrah, Hurrah! We’ll use the spade today,

We’re planting for the future so come and help who may,

To build again the forests of Australia”

Class of 1923

1931 - Bass Hill School Garden – ‘Bass Hill School stands close to the Liverpool Road in the north Bankstown district and is conspicuous because red and pink rambling roses are tumbling prettily over the arches, pergolas and fences almost adjacent to the public highway within full sight of all who pass by.’

‘Close to the roses there are gladioli of fine quality and colour, larkspurs, blue and mauve, snapdragons, pink and crimson, roses in yellow and chrome, orange marigolds, blue lupins, snowflower and white marguerites as well, all quite happy in the work they do for the little boy and girl gardeners who have taken them in hand.’

‘And to the flowers within the school gates there are skylarks on high, adding their measure of praise. The birds, buds and blossoms, the blue sky and the long landscapes make the Bass Hill School a memorable stopping place.’

1935 – ‘Appealing Display at Bass Hill Horticultural Show - Young and Old Competed – Prizes for Preserves, Flowers and Cakes - Beautiful blooms, together with tempting cakes, preserves and provisions made an appealing display at the Bass Hill Amateur Horticultural Show, which was held at the Public School, Bass Hill, under the auspices of the local Mothers’ Club directed by Mrs C Morrin, president and Mrs A Gates, honorary secretary.’

‘From the proceeds of the show, prizes and toys will be presented to children attending the school.’

‘One of the judges, Mrs Betsy Matthias, who donated eight special prizes for children’s and adults fancy work, acted as auctioneer for two hours, disposing of goods in a most professional manner.’

1948 – The school has 161 pupils enrolled.

1950 – Two extra monocrete rooms were added.

1952 – A new block of four classrooms was opened and occupied by the newly created Infants Department.

1953 – ‘Infants Department moved to its present site into six new aluminium classrooms. By the end of the year an extra block of three rooms was added.’

‘At Bass Hill Public School, the queue for the water at the only two water bubblers stretched for more than 100 yards. At the same school there is a “floating class” – one without a room – which moves from one class to another. When no classroom is available the children do their lessons under a tree in the playground.’

Class of 1953

1954 – Girls Department established

Enrolments reached 900 students.

‘Many five-year-old children were refused enrolment at some suburban schools.’

‘Teachers at the schools said the number of five-year-old children presented for enrolment yesterday had been unexpectedly heavy and many had to be turned away because of the lack of accommodation.’

‘A veranda had to be converted into a classroom pending the erection of new classrooms.’

‘Improvements consisting of fencing plus the renewal and extension of water service, erection of washing and drinking sheds, installation of sink and hand basin and drainage were initiated.’

1955 – ‘Due to such large numbers of students one class had to be housed on the veranda of the old building and another in the weather shed, and a third in the church hall in Neville Street.’

‘Later that year the wing of the Girls Department added five classrooms and a library at a cost of 13,500 pound (AUD$561,497). During the same year the Infants Department got another four classrooms.’

1958 – Enrolments reached their peak at 1300 students and two more classrooms were added.

Classes of 1955

Classes of 1957

Class of 1958

1963 – ‘Improved toilet facilities and other works will be carried out and would include a renewal of the water service in the school’s infants’ department along with the installation of a handbasin in the primary boys staff room.’

‘A design and estimate have been submitted for a retaining wall and fence on the Hume Highway side of the school. The erection of a retaining wall is necessary because of road widening. ‘

‘A report had not yet been received on the need for lighting in certain classrooms at the school. However, major ground improvements were nearing completion and adequate areas were now available for physical education.’

Class of 1961

1961 Footy Team

1971 – A new Canteen price list came into effect with sandwiches starting at 10c, pies for 15c and cakes for 6c.

1980 – Painting of the school was undertaken.

2009 - 375 students - 68% from a background other than English. Largest cultural group is Arabic, followed by Vietnamese.

2022 - 381 students - 85% from a non-English speaking background.

1971 Canteen Menu Prices