Up until 1956 the location of Valkstone was a market garden operated by a Mr. Vandervalk and his wife, the former Miss Stone. The school name of 'Valkstone' was formed from the combination of Vandervalk and Stone. In keeping with Mr. Vandervalk's Dutch background, the school adopted the falcon as its crest. 'Valk' in Dutch means 'falcon'.
The first principal of the school was Mr. Walter Trudinger. On the 7th of February 1957 the school welcomed its 317 pupils, 116 of whom came from Bentleigh East Primary School. So with a staff of 10 teachers, the children marched into their classrooms ready to begin Valkstone's school life. Of course, the school could not operate without the wonderful contribution of the parents. A School Committee was formed and a Mothers Club began operation.
The school grounds needed much attention in the early years so working bees (comprising men only) were a common weekend sight. Garden beds were commenced and new trees planted. A huge tree planting operation took place involving all the school's children.
To raise much-needed funds a Fair was held, organised by the menfolk and a total of 315 pounds was raised.
In February, 1957 a young girl from the local area enrolled at Valkstone and took her place amongst the other 32 children in Grade 1C under the direction of Mrs. Cowling. Over the next forty years this young girl kept returning to Valkstone in a number of different capacities. In 1957 she was Marilyn Tunne, Grade 1 pupil and today she is Marilyn Koolstra, Principal of the school.
In 1958 the school choir began and one of its first public appearances was at the MCG in front of the Queen Mother. In 1958 great progress was visible in the yards, with a new bike shed, a school fence and asphalt laid at the front of the school. Unfortunately, in July 1958 Mr. Trudinger suddenly died. In October 1958, the then Minister for Education officially opened the school. He unveiled a memorial plaque to Mr. Trudinger which can be found at the front of the school. Mr. McCubbin became Head Teacher.
Valkstone, Joy, Maree and Juliana Street were being graded and tarred. Much of the soil from these roads was used in the construction of the oval. Two of these streets were named after Mr Vandervalk's daughter, Joy Maree and Juliana Street was named after Queen Juliana of Holland.
The first official folk dancing display was seen at this time and many more were to follow over the next 30 years. At the end of the decade the school was firmly established, even winning an award for its gardens.
The new decade began with Valkstone's enrolment at 386. The Head Teacher at the time was Mr. Courtier, who had a staff of 12 teachers. New rooms were needed and an elaborate sound system was installed.
Again parents were very active. The school oval needed a great deal of work. A call went out for all men to bring their rotary mowers to school to cut the grass and twenty responded. The school's cricket pitch was put down in 1961. The school expanded to 400 pupils and established a House System named after 4 famous Australian explorers : Cook, Tasman, Dampier and Hartog. Throughout the 1960's Valkstone steadily became a power in the local sports competitions. This was especially evident in swimming.
In 1966, while a teacher at Valkstone, George Pappas scripted and produced a series of 12 programs for the ABC about teaching English in schools. One of the shows was filmed here at Valkstone.
During the 1960's Education Week 'Open Days' became a popular highlight of the school year. Again folk dancing and marching made regular appearances as did displays of sewing and toy making. Slide demonstrations were a huge hit and the Mothers Club took advantage of these sessions for fund raising. In 1966 the school Library was completed and officially opened.
A television set was purchased for the new Library, with contributions from the Department, the Mothers Club and the teachers. The Department contributed $100, the Mothers Club $120 and the teachers $7.50.
It was in the 1960’s that the school began to plan for an Art/Craft room to be added. By 1969 with designs for the room drawn up thoughts turned to equipping the room. As the Government would provide $100 the Principal suggested that the children attempt to match this sum to aid in the purchase of art & craft supplies. Several teachers scoffed at the notion of the children raising this money by themselves. One teacher even suggested that if they did, he would eat his socks. The children triumphed raising a total of $252 forcing the teacher to keep his word by making a meal of his socks. Thanks to the children’s efforts the new room was opened the following year fully stocked with materials to encourage creativity in art & craft.
By the 1970’s Valkstone Primary School was becoming well known throughout the wider community. In 1972 the Sun newspaper carried a story with a photograph reporting on the children’s involvement in making a short environmental movie under the direction of Mr. Wallis. In 1974 the grade 5 children of Mrs. J. Waters decided to secede from the rest of Australia by setting up their own country of Bentalok as part of their Social Studies work. The school began to publish its own magazine. “The Falcon” highlighted the children’s talent. Its selling price was 5 cents. During this decade the local area underwent great changes. Numbers in all local schools began to decline. Valkstone’s enrolment was down to 250 by the end of the 1970’s.
The rooms at V.P.S. took on a new look as the old staff room became the new office and a classroom was converted to the staff room. Teaching staff underwent many changes. Several new teachers were to have a great impact on the lives of many students. The new Principal, John Bone, established a weekly newsletter and the School Councils replaced the outmoded School Committees system. The technological age had begun heralding the introduction of computers to the school.
The 1980’s marked great changes to the Victorian Education system with new initiatives and directions that were introduced into the curriculum. Parents were called upon to make vital decisions affecting the school. Valkstone’s survival became a real
concern. In 1985 the enrolment numbers had dropped to only 194 with just seven straight grades. The lower enrolment did not dampen enthusiasm: the football team reached the state semi finals! A bike-a-thon raised $2000 to send local identity Max Rainsford to the Commonwealth Games; Valkstone was among the first schools to introduce Life Education vans to the children in the fight against drug abuse; parents banded together to get the Safety House Scheme introduced into the area; the children were featured in the T.V. show “You Me and Education” for which the art room was converted into “Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, and played a small part in the filming of a Ribena Juice advertisement for which they were paid $500; with the support of parents and the Coles docket scheme the school took delivery of new computers; the production of Valksview magazine highlighted the children’s talent in both writing and art.
Bike-Ed was introduced to the children and Geoffrey Taylor, the school captain in 1988,won a 3 AW radio station competition for designing playground and won for the school $2000 worth of playground equipment for the school.
It was also a decade of celebration. In 1982 the school celebrated it’s 25th anniversary, with tree planting, whole school concerts and a Bush dance. In 1984 Victoria celebrated its 150th birthday; the school held a Heritage Day and the children were all given medals and certificates by the mayor in commemoration. In 1988 Australia celebrated its Bi-Centenary, Valkstone built an amphi-theatre to celebrate and placed a time capsule nearby.
With the 1990’s the enrolment began to rise. The closure of Bentleigh East P.S. caused a rapid increase to the school population necessitating the temporary use of portables until they could be replaced by a new hall classrooms and canteen. During this decade the school began to recognize the need to cover up from the sun; the Legionnaires hat was introduced and the children were encouraged to apply sun screen by the Sun Smart policy.
One Saturday night in 1994 a fire caused damage to a number of classroom causing much frustration and pain over the next eighteen months. In 1995 Valkstone celebrated the opening of its second wing of new classrooms, canteen and. The new facility allowed the school to enrich its programs and accommodate its growing numbers. In 1997 Valkstone had several events to commemorate its 40th anniversary - a tile wall and a mural completed by the children will remain as exciting reminders of the celebrations.
For many years Valkstone has had a reputation for caring for its children and for encouraging them to do their best. We're sure that many Valkstone students, past and present, could look back on these and many other events with fond and lasting memories.
Fifty years ago, Valkstone opened its doors to 320 pupils on 7th February.
On 7th February 2007, 380 students and 28 staff celebrated Valkstone’s 50th Anniversary with chocolate cake and blue and yellow balloons. The event was recorded in the Leader Newspaper.
Later in the term, 23rd March, a ‘Back to Valkstone’ day was held, featuring a Roll Call, extensive displays of the school’s history, student representations of local and global events during the last five decades and Devonshire teas. The afternoon was a great success with the Roll Call bringing forward students from Prep to Grade 6 who attended Valkstone in the 1950’s, including Geoff Cox (Coxy’s Big Break) much to the delight of former classmates and current fans.
Enrolments have increased steadily with facilities to match. A new Mod 5 was moved on site early in 2007. Eighteen classes supported with specialist programs in LOTE – Japanese, Music, Physical Education and Visual Arts. Information Communication Technology is integrated into daily teaching with a learning centre of desktops in all classrooms as well as interactive whiteboards.
Outdoor education has extended to camps for Year 4 at Oasis, Mt Evelyn, Year 5 at Camp Hill, Ballarat and Year 6 at Norval in the Grampians.
A whole school concert is held annually in Term 3, filling the Kingston Arts Centre to capacity. The theme varies each year, showcasing student performances with song, dance, instrumental music and comedy – the teachers perform too!