Gordon West Public School

Learn and Advance

Telephone02 9498 4644


School history

Gordon West School opened in November 1951, and by the end of that month there were 40 children in Kindergarten. In February 1956, by which time Mr MacKinnon was headmaster, there were 342 children – with 9 teachers in classes from Kindergarten, to a combined Year 5 and 6 class.

In 1957 the four roomed wooden building was erected and became the main primary block. There was now a period of rapid expansion as War Services Homes areas of Ryde Road, Dunoon Aveneue, Duneba Avenue, Kooloona Crescent and Baronga Avenue were all developing.

In 1959 another building was completed, which then became the main primary block and the 1957 building was then occupied by the Infants classes. This was followed soon afterwards by the Kindergarten block, which relieved class loads as in this year the average per class was 45, and the two 3rd classes each had over 50 children.

West Pymble school opened in 1960 and over one hundred children transferred to that school from Kindergarten to 3rd grade.

Following the closure of Gordon Public School in 1990 the majority of children transferred to our school, significantly increasing the school numbers.

Early in Mr MacKinnon's term as headmaster the matter of school houses came up for consideration. It was decided to get away from the rather trite custom of naming them after prominent Australians. It was agreed to use aboriginal names for the school houses since the school was in Ku-ring-gai. The names Gareaway (white cockatoo), Marayong (emu), Mulgo (black swan) and Waugan (raven) were chosen.

The school mural, on the southern end of the Administration block is unique. Constructed of ceramic mosaic, it was designed by artist, Mr Byram Mansell. Mr MacKinnon had contacted Mr Mansell seeking his help in designing "House" flags. The school never did get the flags, but finished up with a mural which was completed in 1961 and was featured in the "Education Gazette" in 1964. The garden and Australian shrubs beneath it were also suggested by Mr Mansell, to complement the mural. (The same artist designed the school badge in 1966.)

House Banners and a School Banner were designed by Miss Harper, a teacher at the school in 1998. They are displayed in the assembly hall.

The school has a "bush regeneration" area at the front of the school grounds, next to Ryde Road. This was the inspiration of Lady Fairlie-Cuningham when her son was attending the school in the early 1980's.

Facts and memories of the area of land now occupied by Gordon West Public School, as recalled by Mr Peter Munday, grandson of the original settlers/inhabitants.

Mr George Munday and his wife, Agnes, came to Australia in the service of Lord and Lady Jersey, George as head groom and Agnes as lady-in-waiting to Lady Jersey. Lord Jersey came to Australia as Governor of NSW from 1891-1893.

The property remained in their name until the death of Agnes after World War II, George having died several years earlier. The property was then sold to Mr Spessot from whom it was acquired by the Education Department.

The Mundays built their home from locally sawn hardwood and weatherboard, and lined it with flat sheets of tin. Walls were of hessian, which were, in later years, wall-papered in a rose pattern. The house was built directly on the ground with an asphalt floor.

The Mundays worked an orchard on the property in addition to having a horse paddock. Their only child, Charles Harold Cecil, grew up here and went to Gordon Public School on the Pacific Highway.

At this period of time most of the current school site was natural bush, through which there was a popular bush track to Gordon.

Over the years the site has been further developed and today we have a school of 554 students nestled into three hectares of beautiful bushland setting on Sydney's Upper North Shore.

George and Agnes Munday The original site.