Flinders Street Primary School

Also known as:
School of Music

The Flinders Street School opened in October 1878 as the City Model School, with an average daily attendance of 593 children.  Fees to the attend the school were based on a means test.  The building was the first two storey public school in the colony.  It was designed in a neo-gothic style by Edward John Woods with a gabled roof.

In 1969, after 90 years, the school closed because of diminishing enrolments.  Later the School became the School of Music of the Adelaide Institute of TAFE or Flinders Street School of Music and merged with the Elder Conservatorium.

There has been recent restoration of the building including the original floor boards, high ceilings and statement archways.

Current status and listings

ACH Status:
Heritage Protection:
NTSA Listed, State Heritage Listed
State Heritage ID:

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Flinders Street Primary School Photos:

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30 thoughts on “Flinders Street Primary School

  1. The School is still a Grand Sight ! I did attend the School for 2 years, & it had a great bunch of kids there, Boys on the West Side & Girls on the East . I am aware it is on Prime Land ! I’m 69 this year, could the Goverment leave it there @ least until I’m gone ? B.N.Baker Esq,

    • Thanks Barrie for that memory. We think the building is safe, as it is Heritage listed. But we need to be vigilant and make sure that heritage values continue to be protected in the City. Do you have any photos from your school days that you would like to share on the website?

  2. I do not have any Photos, but I remember some good times! & I think this part of Adelaide needs a lift . If some one has a key I would love to step back a couple of years . If in my control I would not let anyone like OH&S any where near it ! Make tenant s responsible for them selves, like walking down stairs to the back of the yard to the toilets ! I get of my Horse now ! Sorry! Barrie N Baker.

  3. I went to Flinders Street Primary from 1960 to 1964. Mr Morris was then our headmaster.
    I enjoyed my school years at the school. I am still friends with a couple of girls that I met on my first day of school. I couldn’t speak a word of English, I had just arrived from Holland, but as children you learn the language quickly. I still remember quite a few names of the children in our class as there was only one class per year, so we all went up together. There were special classes for children who couldn’t keep up. It was a very friendly school.
    We didn’t have class photo’s taken at that time as far as I can remember but only individual ones. One of my friends and I went back to have a look at the school again and found the yards so much smaller than we remembered. Henrietta Smits

  4. I attended the school with my brother and sister from
    1956 to 1962.I remember several schoolmates and my
    favorite teacher Miss Clarke with who I was in love.I
    have an unpleasant memory of a classmate,Frank Papagello,we must have been in 4th grade who was killed by a truck behind the school.Also it must have been around 1961 when they were cleaning out an old
    store room a gatling gun was found.I remember sliding
    down the stairs wooden handrail to get to the ground floor.I have some class photos somewhere,I will find them and post them.all in all it was a great school.

  5. My main memory is the pleasant environment of the
    school and the overall good nature and understanding
    of the teachers during those years and although I have been living abroad for some years whenever I
    come to Adelaide I always drive by the school.It seems a lot smaller than what I remember in my

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    • Glad they are happy memories Peter. And yes, schools always seem smaller when we return as adults. Thanks for sharing your report cards too- quite an accomplished student!

  6. In grade 5, i had Ms Burns for our teacher, she is the only person who has ever given me the leather strap on my hand for losing my space in a reading lesson. She gave me a box of minties at the end of the year for coming fifth in the class.
    Mr Lucas was our teacher in grade 7 for awhile but he didn’t stay, he had trouble keeping order in the class as we had a couple of unruly students and Mr Morris took over for the rest of the year. The boys that misbehaved got the cane. If they didn’t get caned in the classroom they got sent to the headmasters office. Mr Morris while teaching us always tried to encourage and compliment to achieve better behaviour and grades rather than using the cane.
    The first names of some of the people in our class were Leonora, Teresa, Katy, Georgina, Wanda, Caroline, Elaine,Vince, Manual, Luigi, Paul (who died in a car crash, he was sitting in the back of a ute with his brother Dennis who survived, that was in year 7). I have a list somewhere of a few more people at our school at the time. We should get together for a reunion sometime? Anyone interested?

    • Sounds like you have some vivid memories of your time there Henrietta. A reunion would be a great idea. What years were you there?

  7. My grandmother, Dorothy Ross attended this school from the late 1920s to mid 1930s. Unfortunately, there is nothing on the photo to confirm this. I am talking to her while uploading this (she is 91). Her memories are: mixed classes to grade 4, then separate classes; the boys would have a male teacher and the girls would have a female teacher; she had to go to the exhibition building on North Terrace to do ‘domestic arts’; girls and boys had separate play yards; the toilets were along the fence of a back street; there was a wash trough under the verandah and hooks to hang coats.

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  8. I attended in 1943′ for 2 years,grade 6 and 7 . I remember a teacher Miss Maschmidt and the girls Bessy Nelson and Joan Barrington. In that time I wrote I a small book called Strange Happenings in a castle.It went into the school library. Often wonder where it is now!i was a prefect too. My friend Bessy Nelson came dux of the school beating me by half a mark and Her name went on the honour Roll. I lived in Pirie St with my parents so school was really close by. The school in those days was known as the Flinders St Practicing School. My time there was memorable and enjoyable.I bet no one would remember me now .

  9. This building has been painstakingly and lovingly restored to its former glory by the Baha’i community in South Australia. The building is open daily from 10:00a.m. until 6:00p.m. Why not come in for a cuppa and a chat? We have facilities available for hire for conferences, workshops, etc.: the perfect venue for your school reunion perhaps?

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  10. Just met an amazing elderly man at a bus stop and he told me about his wife, June Hobb (maiden name), who painted a frieze all along the walls of a classroom during geography lessons. They saw the frieze before she passed away 14 years ago, but when she was gone he want to take photos and it had been painted over. The honour rolls were also painted over, and she was on it for 1947. I got his details and am wondering if there are any photos of these two special things?

    • Lovely of you to lend a hand to this gentleman, Caroline. Unfortunately we can’t find a record of interior photographs in any publicly accessible archives, however there could be more material out there in private collections like those posted in the comments here. We’ll keep an eye out if in case anything else comes out of the woodwork!

  11. Hi Caroline, are you Caroline Goodfellow by any chance, who went to this school in the early 1960’s? If you are, would you like to join Leonora and Teresa Pappagallo and I for a coffee at the school next week? I will let you know the time and date if anyone else is interested.

  12. My three older siblings attended this school from 1943 to 1953. I was born 1954 and attended Flinders St between 1960 and 1967. I was joint dux of 1967. There was an honour roll in the entrance foyer. Probably dumped. The school grands have been diminished with residential apartment towers erected on Daly and Ifould Streets. Sad really. I remember one of your correspondents Henrietta Smiths. Her younger brother Theo was my best mate. Our family lived in nearby Worsnop Avenue and the Smiths lived in Pirie Street. Great days. I’d love to know if there is a reunion.