From 1871, Bonnie Doon children were educated at a rudimentary non-vested rural school by a teacher who, apart from a salary of 45 pounds per year, received additional payment for ‘producing results’ whatever than may have meant.

On January 1, 1874, after parents petitioned the Minister of Public Instruction to make the school property of the Education Department, the State leased the school and all its furniture for a nominal rent of 1shilling per annum. Just three months later, in March 1874, a public meeting occurred at Cox’s Hotel in Bonnie Doon were the educational needs of the district were discussed. A new school was to be build west of the township because, as District inspector Bourke stated, “the township of Doon comprises of nothing but four or five very low hotels, and from the appearance of the men, and from what I hear, it must be one of the most disreputable holes in Victoria....hence the need for keeping the school away from the township.” 

1923 BD school pupils

                                  Bonnie Doon State School Pupils 1923

1944 BD school pupils

                                   Bonnie Doon State School Pupils 1944

1959 BD school pupils

                                  Bonnie Doon State School Pupils 1959

114 The early 1930s library building at its former location in Bon Crescent.

As the only public building from 1931 until 1978, the library did not merely function as a place to borrow books, it also gave the wonderful service of providing the venue for social functions such as kitchen teas, plays, travelling shows, film nights, euchre and card games, meetings, voting and even served as an infant welfare centre.

An article in the Mansfield Courier from February 1931 about the opening of the library stated: "The building is a neat and ornamental addition to the town, besides serving a useful service in distributing knowledge." Granted, for quite a long while, the building was far from looking "neat". It had fallen in disrepair and had not had any upgrades apart from the installation of electric heaters and a lick of paint administered by Brian Shannon and Lindsay Tait in 1978. The collective efforts of a caring community set about to return the old library to its former glory.

 oldlibraryrestored Restored and repainted at its present location

 On February 21, 2011, preparations were set in motion for the relocation of the old Bonnie Doon library and public hall. The work began with the removal of roof tiles and chimney bricks, both of which were cleaned and set aside for later reconstruction. The next step in the proceedings involved the removal of asbestos walls from the outside of the building. Once the bare bones became visible, it could easily be seen that the building was structurally sound, proving even the experts wrong who believed the 80 year old hall should be condemned! While the structure was being prepared for removal from the site, preparations for repositioning were underway at the other end: the ground was levelled and stump holes were dug. Then finally, on March 8, the big day had arrived and the old library was shifted to its final destination next to the Community Centre in Arnot Street. Now, electrical re-wiring and renovations have been completed and the official opening took place on November 23rd 2012 by Dr Bill Sykes MP for Benalla.

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