Eastern Hills—a Significant Place
The following is from the Heritage Council Statement of Significance
Eastern Hills Senior High School, a predominantly single-storey linear plan brick high school complex in a simple adaptation of the California Bungalow style, with elements of the Post War International style, in a rural residential setting, principally developed between 1951—1960 in three main stages with numerous additions and contrasting styles. Despite being initially established as a primary school, the school is representative of secondary schools built in Western Australia during the early post World War Two period following the introduction of the Education Department’s “Co-educational Comprehensive Community High Schools” policy and subsequent changes in response to the Education Department’s policy.
The school was expanded to become a senior high school to cater for the wave of children born after World War Two who began reaching high school age in the late 1950s.
A combination of Inter-War California Bungalow style based buildings and landscape setting make an aesthetically pleasing environment.
The Mount Helena area was first settled by Europeans in the 1880s following the opening of the Eastern railway and the development of a timber industry in the Darling Ranges. At what was to become the townsite of Mount Helena, a mill was established in 1882 by Wright and Company (owned by JW Wright and E Keane). This was eventually taken over by the Lion Timber Yards in the early 1890s and became known as Lion’s (or Lions) Mill. After which the associated settlement of workers and their families took its name. The town site was declared in 1899 and became part of the Greenmount Roads Board in 1906. In 1924 it was renamed Mount Helena.
The first Lion’s Mill school was started in the local hall in 1892 and in 1897 a purpose-built single classroom was erected by the Education Department. This site served the community up to the late 1940’s at which time increasing numbers of school aged children due to rapidly growing population and residential development of the district resulted in the need to provide larger, up-to-date accommodation.
In 1951, work commenced on the construction of the new Mount Helena Primary School (now known as Eastern Hills Senior High School) on land in Keane Street, Mount Helena. The single-storey brick building took the form of an L-shape with two connecting lineal classroom blocks.
Eastern Hills Senior High School has associations with the settlement of the Mount Helena at the turn of the twentieth century and its rapid development in the post World War Two period.
Despite being initially established as a primary school, Eastern Hills Senior High School has associations with the reorganisation of the existing secondary education system following the introduction of the Education Department’s “Co-educational Comprehensive Community High School policy in the post World War Two period.
THE ORIGINAL SCHOOL BUILDING
This area is part of the original building and although it has been modified several times it retains many original features and remains the main public entrance.
The classrooms in this wing are the original rooms from 1951. They are a style common in the day and retain several features such as the enclosed corridor opening onto what was a bitumen quadrangle and fireplaces. This wing has some of the earliest extensions.
This area was the original canteen and student toilets. It has been modified to provide a health centre and student services office. The canteen is now located in the centre of the school.
The general block was developed during 1951—1959 to include specialist classrooms such as Home Economics for the growing group of older students. It was later modified to create a set of general classrooms which were occupied by HaSS until their move to the new block at the rear of the school. The classrooms were then converted to provide teaching areas with access to modern teaching technology and computers.
MODERN EXTENSIONS AND MODIFICATIONS
The school’s library was built in 1972. It is of a style common at the time although it is larger than many of this type. In recent years it has been modified to accommodate modern technology and expand its role as a modern resource centre.
The Science block was built in stages in the 1960’s and 1970’s. It has had a number of upgrades since, the most significant being completed in 2010 when the facilities were brought to the latest standard. This upgrade also incorporated the aquaponics area.
The current HaSS (Society & Environment) block was originally built as a dedicated Year 8 area in 1998. The school changed its focus toward a more traditional organisational model based on the learning areas and in 2008 HaSS relocated to the building.
This building was developed in the mid 1970’s incorporating general classrooms and an area for teaching Business Studies. This area now houses the English and Languages and has one room for teaching computing.
DESIGN AND TECHNOLOGY
Design and Technology comprises several different disciplines including woodwork, metalwork, photography, CAD and automotive. The centre has been developed in stages between 1978—1989. The large automotive workshop was added in 2008.
The Arts building was completed in 1998. It incorporates visual arts, drama, media and computer graphics areas. The theatre is suitable for drama production as well as a venue for viewing multimedia. The area has been upgraded significantly to incorporate the use of modern technology.
The gymnasium is part of a community recreation complex which was built in 1980. It incorporates a gymnasium, hall, change rooms and classroom. It is jointly managed with the Shire of Mundaring. An extension to accommodate the Music program was built in 1989.
The music auditorium comprising 240 seat auditorium, foyer and practice rooms was completed in 2006 on the site of the former rose garden.
The canteen was relocated in 1989 and incorporates a food service area, undercover area with staged seating and a student services office for Psychologist and Chaplaincy services.
The swimming pool was constructed in 1989—1990 following representation from the local community. The facility is jointly operated with the Shire of Mundaring.
Eastern Hills Senior High School is set in an attractive hills environment. The original block which is now shared with Mount Helena Primary School is approximately 19 Hectares (50acres). Nearly one-third of the land remains as untouched bushland which is an asset used by Science classes to study the local environment. The school abuts the Lake Leschenaultia nature reserve which the school utilises for both environmental education, orienteering and outdoor recreation classes.
The grounds are well developed and retain some of the original plantings. Other significant items such as the heritage roses which have been disturbed by building expansion have been retained as special plantings changed locations.
The school has two grassed playing fields which accommodate all sports such as football, soccer, hockey, rugby cricket and athletics.
In addition, the school has the gymnasium courts, paved court areas for netball, basketball and tennis. These are used by the community out of school hours.
In recent years the school has undertaken the redevelopment of the grounds surrounding the buildings to provide pleasant places for students to use between classes. This has included the installation of upgraded seating and shade shelters.
Many of the plants in gardens have been propagated by students working in the Education Support program horticulture centre.
Preparation of this brochure would not have been possible without the work of the WA Heritage Commission who compiled a complete history of the school and its development in order to recommend its inclusion on the Register of Heritage Places in 2009.