A group of local residents petitioned for a school and as a result Coogee Public School was opened in 1876 with an enrolment of 50 pupils. It was one of the first public schools in the Eastern Suburbs. One large classroom, a teacher's residence and a smaller room for religious instruction were housed in a single storey stone building. The building situated in Byron Street is now on Randwick Council's heritage list. The school still possesses old furniture, such as desks and cupboards from the 1880s, estimated to be worth more than $60,000. The first teacher was William Cameron.
The student enrolment grew rapidly and in 1916 a second storey was added to the main building. The Infants School was opened in 1928 and the Coogee Bay Road building was completed in 1935. During the 1930s enrolments reached a high of 1000, however by 1976 at the time of the school's centenary, enrolments had dropped by half.
Trams used to travel through the top of the playground, however this land was returned to the school in 1976 to commemorate its centenary. It was turned back into a playground and named Centenary Playground. In 1999 a further $30,000 was spent on refurbishing the playground. In 2001 the school celebrated its 125th birthday by holding a Fete and a Reunion Dinner Dance.
Presently, Coogee Public School is a State run primary school catering for years K-6. It also provides before and after school care and vacation care. The school motto is Play the Game. The school colours are cherry red and royal blue.
List of References
- A Randwick Ramble: Coogee and Clovelly (Part 1), Randwick and District Historical Society, 1994 (LH919.441/RAN)
- Beautiful Coogee, Rolleston, C.H., 1929 (LH994.41/BEA)
- Southern Courier, 22 February, 2001, p22.
- Coogee Public School