Religion, education follows settlement

With settlement comes thought of education and churches.

Green Hills School on McFarlands Road was the first in the area, opened in 1850 with the assurance to the Government that 20 pupils would be in attendance.  It closed in 1870.

The township’s first school was conducted in a small rented wooden cottage from September 1857.  It was called the Belvoir National School.  The building of a new schoolhouse, No. 378, began in October the same year near the corner of High and South Streets.  In 1872 it changed to No. 37 Wodonga which remained until 1938 when it became a Higher Elementary School.

In 1860 St Francis Chapel was erected on the site of the present St Augustine’s Church.  A one room Catholic school was built in 1876 staffed by two lay teachers until the arrival of the Mercy Sisters in 1892.  The school became a boarding school.  This closed in 1959 just after they built extra school accommodation in Osburn Street in the building which became aged care Osburn Lodge after it was sold in 1975.

St Luke’s Church of England, constructed of local stone, was opened on 15th March 1863 on the corner of Church and South Streets.  It was demolished in 1969.

Wodonga West School was opened in January 1870 where McKoy Street joins the freeway. It closed in May 1950.  At the school was a public telephone and a mail service to Wodonga three times a week.  Opposite the school was a platform on the railway line for the children of the workmen who were building the railway line.

With the arrival of land seekers from South Australia soon after 1865 the Lutheran Church was established in Wodonga with services conducted in members’ homes or under a shady gum tree.  1875 saw the erection of their church in Havelock Street.

In 1888 Wodonga’s first Presbyterian Church was established thanks to businessman John Whan who had been appointed Sunday School Superintendent.  Prior services were held in the Courthouse as were those for the Methodist Church which was built in 1873.

The Salvation Army commenced their work in January 1921 with their first meeting held in the Fire Brigade Hall.