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The opening of Greater Shepparton Secondary College in 2020 heralds a new era for public education in our region.

Through community engagement, we know the community places great importance on also marking the end of era as our four secondary schools are merged into the new, state-of-the-art College.

The Shepparton Education Plan Team’s Honouring the Past project is dedicated to capturing memorabilia, photos and stories from all four schools to carry into the new College, creating a sense of place and belonging from its beginning.

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We know the community values retaining historic items like honour boards, trophies and photographs of the existing schools. However it is not just ‘old’ stories and artefacts which are important; contemporary artwork and multi-media are included in this project.

The history and heritage of a school underpin its sense of place. These must travel with staff and students into Greater Shepparton Secondary College, recognising the four secondary schools at the new, single campus. Displays and representations in public areas, like the new school foyer, will help students and staff understand how they ‘fit’ in the education timeline of Shepparton.

The familiarity of these displays will also provide comfort and context as staff and students come to feel at home in their new school surroundings.

Honouring the Past is now providing one of the first real opportunities for staff and students from different campuses to begin working and thinking collaboratively together. This project is well underway at Shepparton High School as it is set to close and make way for development of the new Greater Shepparton Secondary College.

What’s happening now

  • Department of Education records specialists: Important school records are being scanned for long-term storage at the Victorian Archives Centre. These specialists will also carry out high-resolution scanning of items found by staff and students as part of Honouring the Past.
  • School working groups: Staff volunteers have established an approach to preserving campus history and are now creating an inventory of historically important items.
  • Temporary storage of historical items: The Shepparton Education Plan Team are consulting with records specialists on storage protocols for historic items. Shepparton High School has been the priority for identifying and storing heritage items.
  • Student involvement: VCAL teachers and students at Shepparton High School are working on heritage preservation projects associated with the imminent closure of their campus.
  • Shepparton Heritage Centre: Members are providing professional advice and assistance on archiving. Some historic school items and photographs may be displayed at the centre.
  • Contemporary photographs: The campuses as they are today are being captured in pictures, including drone aerial images.  

Next steps

A range of ideas on how to use artefacts has emerged during consultation with staff, students and stakeholders of the Honouring the Past project. Some ideas are pragmatic and somewhat obvious, like trophy cabinets; others are highly creative in showing how the spirit of the four schools and the wider concept of education in Shepparton can be represented in the new school.

Many of these ideas surround the use of multi-media to capture social history; for example a timeline incorporating digital interviews of significant staff, students and members of the community.

There is strong support for establishing a Memorial Garden. This is to ensure existing memorabilia at all four schools, commemorating significant students and staff who have passed away, finds a home in the new College.

Celebrations, open to all, will be held prior to the closure of each campus.