Dandenong High School

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Dandenong High School
Princes Highway
Dandenong, Victoria
Coordinates 37°58′45″S 145°12′33″E / 37.97917°S 145.20917°E / -37.97917; 145.20917Coordinates: 37°58′45″S 145°12′33″E / 37.97917°S 145.20917°E / -37.97917; 145.20917
Type Co-educational state
Motto Faber Quisque Fortunae
(Every person is the architect of their own destiny)
Established 1919 (1919)
Founder Private P. C. W. Langford
Principal Susan Ogden
Teaching staff 179[1]
Years offered 7-12
Enrolment 1919[1]
Campus Dandenong Site & Ann Street Site
Colour(s) Royal Blue, Light Blue and Red
Athletics Athletics
Nickname Dandy High
Newspaper Fortnightly newsletters
Yearbook The Gate
Assoc. Principals Katie Watmough & Mark Gow

Dandenong High School is one of the largest co-educational government schools in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. The school caters for students from Years 7 to 12. At the start of 2007, Dandenong High School, Cleeland Secondary College and Doveton Secondary College officially merged to become the new Dandenong High School,[2] as part of the Federal Government's Building the Education Revolution. As of 2013, the school has 179 teaching and 54 non-teaching staff, as well as 1919 students, who come from 66 different cultural backgrounds.[1] Stages 1 and 2 of the Dandenong Education Precinct Project have been completed as of 2011, whilst $10 million has been approved for a part of the final stage of work, Stage 3. The 2012-13 State Budget made provisions for $9.4M for the rest of Stage 3 to be completed.


Dandenong High School officially opened on 10 March 1919. It opened late due to the large outbreak of pneumonic influenza that was prevalent at the end of the First World War. When the School opened it was in temporary premises with the junior students housed at the Old Fire Station and the senior students at the Temperance Hall and Church of Christ. There were 104 students. The foundation stone of the Administration Building (A Block) was laid on 21 November 1919 and the school was officially opened in late 1920. In 1920 the total student enrolment was 150, of which 60 students came from the Berwick, Pakenham, Garfield, Bunyip, Hallam, Lyndhurst, Cranbourne, Koo-Wee-Rup, Carnegie and Murrumbeena areas. The first Headmaster of Dandenong High School was Mr Percival Charles William Langford. Mr Langford served in the 4th Light Horse Brigade,[3][4] of the First Australian Imperial Force, and saw action in France and the Sinai and Palestine Campaign. He was invalided out of the Army in September 1916 suffering from typhoid. He then undertook recruitment work for the Army. Mr Langford served at the school until 1934 when he transferred to Mildura, then to Frankston in 1937 where he worked until his retirement in 1948.

The colours of the school are those of Mr Langford’s Regiment, the 4th Light Horse, and are red and two shades of blue. The school crest was designed by the art mistress, Miss D. McKinnon. In 1920 there were six houses – Bluegum, Clematis, Orchid, Wattle, Boronia and Waratah though this was soon reduced to four with the loss of Boronia and Waratah. The names and colours of the houses were chosen by Miss Dora Taylor, the senior Mistress. With the regeneration of the school came seven brand new houses - Banksia, Callistemon, Eucalyptus, Hakea, Darwinia, Fern and Grevillea, named after Australian flora. Dandenong High School is the oldest school, public or private, in Melbourne's outer east and now has 1400 students alone, on its Dandenong Site. The historic façade of the Administration building will remain, as it is heritage-listed and is a landmark of Dandenong. In 2009, Dandenong High School celebrated its 90th Anniversary. The Administration Building was renamed the Langford Building in 2010, where a plaque was placed at the entrance to the building in honour of the first Headmaster.

Ann Street Site[edit]

The Ann Street Site (the late Cleeland Secondary College site) is situated on Ann Street, Dandenong (37°58′40″S 145°12′48″E / 37.9779°S 145.2134°E / -37.9779; 145.2134), opposite the Dandenong Site. Formerly Dandenong Girls High School, then Cleeland Secondary College, it was built as a girls high school in 1957 with the motto, Above Renown, and the Olympic Torch as its logo. The student population at Cleeland reflected the local cultural diversity and it was for some time the most ethnically diverse in the state. The College established Literacy and Numeracy Centres to promote crucial educational skills to its mainstream and many special needs students. In recent years Cleeland consistently maintained a retention rate of 150%. Cleeland Secondary College was the first school to offer, in conjunction with Chisholm Institute, the new Vocational Education Training (VET) course in Information Technology/Multimedia. The buildings on the Ann Street Site will be demolished after Stage Two building works are complete. A new double-gymnasium, performing arts/drama centre, 350-seat auditorium and sporting ovals/fields will be constructed on the site, as part of the Stage 3 building works. The construction of a federally funded Language Centre is nearing completion on the Ann Street Site.

Former Doveton Campus[edit]

The Victorian Education Department anticipated an increasing demand for technical school education in areas surrounding Dandenong when it decided to establish Doveton Technical School at the beginning of 1963. Temporarily housed in Dandenong Technical School, Doveton began with 115 boys in Form 1. The new school, built in cement tile veneer on the 14.5-acre (59,000 m2) site in Box St, became available at the beginning of 1964. The Principal W.J.H. Smith was joined by a staff of six. The Parents' Association formed in early 2010 was led by Mrs W. Montagne as President and Mrs B. King as Secretary. The Chief Inspector of Technical Schools, J.L. Kepert. attended the inaugural meeting of the Advisory Council when Cr G.F. Knowles was elected President. On 5 April 1968 the Minister, the Hon. L.H.S. Thompson, MLC, officially opened the school of which the first three stages had been completed. Enrolments from 1963 to 1968 included students from Doveton, the area E of the Frankston-Dandenong Rd, Narre Warren North, Beaconsfield, Pakenham East, Koo-Wee-Rup, Korumburra, Lang Lang and Cranbourne. Subsidised bus services, trains and school buses from Dandenong Railway Station brought children to Doveton. In 1967 girls courses at Form 1 level were introduced. The previous Doveton Campus, or Doveton Secondary College officially closed down 1 December 2008. Doveton Campus students joined students on the Dandenong Site for the remainder of the 2008 school year.[5] The buildings on the Doveton Campus have now been demolished. A new government P-9 school, Doveton College, opened in 2012 1.5 km east of the old Doveton SC location.[6]

Dandenong Education Precinct Project[edit]

The Dandenong Education Precinct Project is a major regeneration project funded under the Federal Government's Building Our Education Revolution. The previous three separate schools were officially merged under the one name of Dandenong High School in 2007. The amalgamation of the campuses, called the Dandenong Education Precinct Project, will cost the Victorian government $45 million and will be completed in stages. Stage 1 of the building program was completed in early 2009; including the construction of Banksia, Darwinia and Callistemon Houses, and also the extension and refurbishment of the current Library Resource Centre. Stage 2 of the building program consisted of the constructing of the remaining 4 Houses: Fern, Hakea, Grevillea and Eucalyptus, as well as the construction of a Commonwealth-funded Language Centre on the Ann Street Site, costing $2 million. The school architecture designed by Hayball involves 'green' and environmental aspects and incorporates Environmentally Sustainable Design (ESD) principles, including passive solar design and natural light penetration.[citation needed]

Each House or SWIS building (School-With-In-School building) houses 300 students and a core of 25 teachers. There are 50 students from each year level, in each house. Students from years 7 through to year 12 are based in the same House for their 6 years of secondary schooling. From years 7 to 10, 3 teachers conduct a class of 50 students. However, because the new buildings can cater for both collaborative and independent learning, these class groups usually break off into groups of 17 to 1 teacher. Thus, whilst Dandenong High School is one of the largest public schools in Australia, it also has one of the lowest student to teacher ratios. In years 11 and 12, however, classes are capped at 25 students to 1 teacher, due to the complexity of the VCE, VCAL and VET programs. The House buildings resemble a mini-school because of the administrative structure in each House. Each of the 7 Houses is led by a House Leader (or Assistant Principal), along with an Assistant House Leader and a House Student Coordinator. An Attendance Officer/Receptionist assists with attendance and general tracking of student records. All 7 Houses are overseen by the two Associate principals and the Principal.

Stage 3 of the building project, which is yet to be funded, will consist of a Performing Arts Centre, a 350-seat auditorium, additional Physical Education Centre (with a double gymnasium), Fine Arts Wing, Design Technology Wing, Senior Chemistry/Physics Laboratories, Food Technology Centre, cafeteria, and Fabrics/Media/ICT Wing. Students will be based in their Houses for around 65% of the time, whilst specialist subjects such as Food Technology and Art will be conducted in their respective wings and buildings. The new Alkira Secondary College and William Ruthven Secondary College schools are following a similar architectural concept as Dandenong High School with the SWIS approach. The first half of Stage 3, totalling $10M, was funded in the 2011-12 State Budget, and the second half of Stage 3, totalling $9.4M, was funded in the 2012-13 State Budget.


Former Houses[edit]

Dandenong High School Houses (1920–2008)
Bluegum Clematis Orchid Wattle
Green Blue Purple Yellow

New Houses[edit]

The new Dandenong High School Houses, or Learning Centres, are named after Australian native plants. These Houses are also the same student bodies used for school curricular activities, such as sporting and music chorals events. The seven new houses, which consist of 300 students each, are:

Dandenong High School Houses (2009–present)
Banksia Callistemon Darwinia Eucalyptus Fern Grevillea Hakea
Orange Red Burgundy Blue Green Purple Yellow

Ethos, culture and student life[edit]

Dandenong High School is a multicultural school, with over 2000 students who represent over 60 nationalities and cultures.

There is also an emphasis on student leadership at Dandenong High School. At each year level, 7 Student Representative Council (SRC) members are elected (one student from each House). At the year 12 level, 2 House Captains are selected from each House. 2 Student Representative Council (SRC) Presidents are elected from the year 12 level to head the SRC meetings. In addition to this, 2 School Captains and 2 School-Vice Captains are elected by students and teachers, to represent the whole student body. This means that there are 20 major leadership positions and 42 minor leadership positions, collating to form a strong Student Leadership Team comprising 62 members.


The new Dandenong High School offers students a broader and larger variety of subjects. The curriculum is a very distinctive and unique one, which has been progressively devised by staff and key professionals for the past 5 years. It was only once the curriculum was finalised did the architectural work begin - thus, the curriculum drove the design. Dandenong High School adopted a Mode 2 approach to teaching and learning, and will have a team of teachers delivering the curriculum to students. Dandenong High School has opted for 'collaborative learning', which has been used successfully overseas. The school offers VCE, VCAL and VET study options[clarification needed], with at least 66 VCE subjects for students to choose from.

Dandenong High School has also developed a Select Entry Accelerated Learning Program over the years. The Select Entry Accelerated Learning Program (SEAL Program) was created to better enforce the needs of students who show above-average capabilities, high levels of task commitment and imagination.[citation needed]

Every year in May, a detailed examination schedule is utilised to choose 50 talented Year 6 students to join the SEAL Program in the upcoming year. Tests are used and information is collated in many ways, including advice from the applicants' teachers and parents. As 50 students are enrolled into the program at each year level, they make up one full House of one year level. Entry into the Program is in Year 7, however, limited places may be available in later year levels. The Program now does not involve skipping a year level, but gives students the opportunity to complete a 3-year VCE. Students can take up higher level subjects than the mainstream students.

In 2013, students from 7 Hakea, 8 Eucalyptus, 9 Fern and 10 Grevillea are in the Select Entry Accelerated Learning Program.

Grounds, buildings and facilities[edit]

Dandenong High School is spread across two sites in Dandenong, the main Princes Highway Campus and the Ann Street Campus. The Princes Highway Campus comprises is split into the following blocks: Administration Block or Langford Building (built in 1919), Banksia House (built in 2009), Callistemon House (built in 2009), Darwinia House (built in 2009), Eucalyptus House (built in 2010), Fern House (built in 2010), Grevillea House (built in 2010), Hakea House (built in 2010), R Block (built in 2000 and consisting of a Gymnasium and music rooms), a Library Resource Centre and a Careers Resource Centre.[7]

The Ann Street Campus comprises the old buildings from the former Cleeland Secondary College as well as football fields and basketball courts. A Language Centre is currently being built on the site, and when Stage 3 is complete, the Ann Street Campus will comprise a Physical Education Centre (with double gymnasium), a 350-seat auditorium, Performing Arts Centre, and extra sporting fields. The Princes Highway will also have a Fine Arts Wing, Design Technology Wing, Senior Chemistry/Physics Laboratories, Food Technology Centre, Cafeteria, and Fabrics/Media/ICT Wing as part of Stage 3.[8]


Each month, educational professionals, school principals and interested teachers visit Dandenong High School's regeneration project from outer Victoria, interstate and even from overseas. The Age also focused on the Dandenong Education Precinct Project in a special education edition of the newspaper. On 10 September 2009, Dandenong High School appeared on the TV news show, The 7.30 Report, on ABC. In September 2009, the then Minister for Education Bronwyn Pike visited the school and officially opened Stage 1 of the project, presenting the school with a plaque. In September 2010, the Governor-General of Australia, Quentin Bryce, visited the school.[citation needed]

In August 2009, Dandenong High School, in conjunction with its architect Hayball Pty Ltd and interior designer Mary Featherson, received an award from the Victorian Chapter of the Council of Educational Facility Planners International. The school obtained the award for Best New Construction/Major Facility. In October 2009, Dandenong High School received two major awards in the Government's School Design Awards. The awards won by the school were Best Overall School Design and Best Secondary School. Education Minister Bronwyn Pike said that, “The awards showcase innovative building design that reflects the 21st Century learning occurring in our Victorian schools.” She also said that “Leading architect Hayball pushed the boundaries with its design of this outstanding Victorian school”.[9]

In February 2011, new Minister for Education Martin Dixon visited Dandenong High School and officially opened Stage 2 of the redevelopment, presenting the school with a plaque.[10] In March 2011, the Minister for Education Martin Dixon returned to the school for a second visit. In May 2011, The Premier of Victoria Ted Baillieu made a visit to Dandenong High School to announce $10 million of funding (in the 2011/12 State Budget) for part of the school's final stage of redevelopment.

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ a b c http://www.myschool.edu.au/SchoolProfile/Index/76719/DandenongHighSchool/45588/2013
  2. ^ http://www.worldarchitecturenews.com/index.php?fuseaction=wanappln.projectview&upload_id=13497 Magnificent seven
  3. ^ http://alh-research.tripod.com/Light_Horse/index.blog/1969830/4th-australian-light-horse-regiment-embarkation-roll-a-squadron-wiltshire-group/
  4. ^ http://naa12.naa.gov.au/scripts/ItemDetail.asp?M=0&B=7376564[dead link]
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 6 July 2011. Retrieved 2009-04-17. 
  6. ^ "Doveton College - Who we are". Doveton College. 2015-06-23. Retrieved 2015-06-23. 
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 24 May 2010. Retrieved 9 May 2010. 
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 27 February 2011. Retrieved 12 March 2011. 
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 20 March 2011. Retrieved 12 March 2011. 
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 27 February 2011. Retrieved 12 March 2011. 

External links[edit]