Historic Chewton school receives a makeover

Bendigo West MP Maree Edwards unties the ribbon to official open the new look school with Principal Bernadette McKenna, School Council president Megan Butler and school captains Arkie and Zac.
Bendigo West MP Maree Edwards unties the ribbon to official open the new look school with Principal Bernadette McKenna, School Council president Megan Butler and school captains Arkie and Zac.

Chewton Primary School has received a much needed $1.4 million refurbishment which has breathed new life into the historic local gem.
But don’t take our word for it! Chewton students themselves were full of praise for the redevelopment and modernisation of their learning spaces at the official opening on Friday.
“I love the new reading nook in our classroom,” one said.
“I really like our brand new library,” another commented.
“I love our spacious classroom!”
Chewton Primary School captains Arkie and Zac proudly led Bendigo West MP Maree Edwards and community members which included those involved in the project, parents and former students of a tour of the newly completed upgrade before Ms Edwards ‘untied’ the ribbon to declare the new look facility open.
The school marks its 153rd anniversary in 2023 and the main school building was opened in 1911.
Ms Edwards said the refurbishment included upgrades to existing classrooms including modern lighting, furniture and bi-fold doors to create more collaborative learning spaces and connection to the outdoor spaces.
Ms Edwards said the upgraded facilities have transformed the school whilst being sympathetic of its heritage features.
“Chewton Primary School is a brilliant school – and now, students and staff can enjoy facilities that they deserve,” she said.
“We’re making sure that all students at the school can meet their potential and access great education.
“I congratulate the school community, architects at Roam Architects and builders Q Constructions for their brilliant work on this project.
“It is so important that we make sure that our old school buildings are looked after as they are part of our heritage and our history,” she said.
Ms Edwards also acknowledged teacher and former student Trinity Mawson.
Trinity’s father also attended Chewton Primary School and his son now goes there seeing the family’s connection now spanning three generations.
Principal Bernadette McKenna thanked the state government for its support and everyone that had played a role in the important project.
“The project has been a long time in the making. Roam Architects came a few years ago and met with students, teachers and parents to discuss what they wanted the learning spaces to look like and have done a wonderful job of creating open and spacious learning spaces while retaining the heritage features and improving facilities with modern lighting and sustainability features such as improved insulation,” Ms McKenna said.
She also thanked the builders for their dedication to the project, staff for their patience and flexibility during the build and the support of school council and parents who helped pack up prior to the works, paint the art room and set up the new facilities including the new look library space.
Among those to attend the opening were also former students sisters Merle Jenkins and Elaine Appleton (nee Jury) which attended the school in 1939 and 1942 and Rhonda Eagle (Charman) who attended in 1952.
The trio were extremely impressed with the new look building and said the visit brought back a lot of fond memories of their time at Chewton.
The community will have the chance to take a closer look at the renovation when the school holds its belated 150th birthday celebrations in October, which have been delayed as a result of the pandemic.

Some of Chewton’s Prep, One and Two students and school captains Zac and Arkie are pictured with Ms Edwards and principal Bernadette McKenna enjoying one of the new reading nooks.
Former Chewton Primary School students Merle Jenkins, Rhonda Eagle and Elaine Appleton were thrilled to tour the rejuvenated school building.
Lisa Dennis
Editor of the Castlemaine Mail newspaper and senior journalist on our sister paper the Midland Express. Over the last 24 years Lisa been proudly reporting news in the Mount Alexander and Macedon Ranges communities.