The Sturt Street School was first established in 1883 as one of the four City Model Schools in the CBD area. ‘Model schools’ were those educational institutions where inexperienced or newly appointed teachers could attend for training in the art of teaching.
Known for the first two years of operation as City Model School (Sturt Street) it opened with 821 students and was structured to include separate boys and girls classrooms, an infant (Junior Primary) room and a babies room with a boys Headmaster, a girls Headmistress and an Infants Headmistress.
The newspaper of the day, the South Australian Register reports in 1883 that the imposing bluestone building was “a decided ornament to the street” and that the school had been opened “for the purpose of meeting the want of proper school accommodation, which had been keenly felt in the south-western portion of the city”
In 1885 the name of the school became Sturt Street Public School with enrolments between 800 – 900 students until the 1930’s when the name of the school changed again to Sturt Street Practising School and again in 1961 to Sturt Street Demonstration School.
The practicing and demonstration schools, with single classes of 5 to 14-year old children, specialised in training teachers for one-teacher schools in Outback and rural South Australia.
The declining city resident population from the 1930’s is reflected in the enrolment numbers at the time (450 – 600) resulting in the closure of city schools and only Sturt St and Gilles St survived. Increasing numbers of Greek migrants, pre World War 2, moving into the schools catchment area also changed the ethnic composition of the school and Sturt Street was classed as a New Arrivals school. The percentage of Greek students in the school was such that in the 1950’s all school notices were sent home in Greek and English.
In the 1980’s Sturt Street’s tradition of sympathetic help and schooling to migrant families included the South East Asian refugee community where 40 – 50 children were schooled in the upstairs section of the school with the rest of the, mainly Greek, mainstream students schooled downstairs.
The multicultural nature of the programs offered at the school resulted in ethnic communities maintaining strong loyalties to the school and an interest in its future.
Despite the success of the New Arrivals Program, the school was closed in 1996 due to declining mainstream enrolments.
The efforts of a keen interest group of local residents, including past students, advocated for the reopening of the school and in 2003 the Government of South Australia, in conjunction with the Greek Orthodox Community of SA Inc honoured a commitment to re open the school.
Community consultation informed the proposals for the redevelopment as a unique integrated birth to Year 3 site where community partnerships with the City of Adelaide, Greek Orthodox Community, South West residents and local service providers would be integral to the school.
The school re opened in Term 1, 2004 as Sturt Street Community School as an integrated birth to Year 3 site and due to community demand has been extended in subsequent years to Year 7.