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2 School Education


Records more than 30 years old are open to public access, except those School files dating from 1940 to 1979 are closed until 2009. Researchers requiring access to closed records should contact:

 Department of Education and Communities
Locked Bag 5068
Parramatta NSW 2124
Tel: 02 8633 1044


School age migrants like other children are required to attend school from kindergarten to high school. For many this was not only where they acquired a formal education but where the English language was learnt. Where numbers warranted special schools or classes were set up while isolated enrolments were often expected learn English as best they could. School premises were often used after hours for Adult Migrant English classes.

Letter from NRS 3829, School Files - Nelson Bay. View larger image  Letter from NRS 3829, School Files - Villawood. View larger image

Description of records

NRS 3830, Subject files: Migrant education camp schools, 1948-49 [14/8007]
Correspondence concerning Bathurst Migrant Camp and evening classes in English to be held at Cleveland Street High School, Sydney.

NRS 3829, School files

Closed to Public Access (CPA) for 30 Years

The following list of Migrant Camp and Holding Centre Schools have been extracted from the full list of School files, 1940 to 1979. These schools for migrant children were set up in areas where the large influx of migrant children could not be accommodated by the local public school. It was hoped that these schools would equip the children to attend the local public school by teaching them English and familiarising them with the normal school routine.

[14/7287] Bathurst Holding Centre: Concerns the equipping and running of a primary school and information on continuation classes for migrants in the Bathurst area.  1948-50
[14/7740] Nelson Bay Holding Centre: Establishment of school, appointment of teachers, cleaning of school and floor plan. 1951-52
[14/7837] Scheyville Holding Centre: Establishment of school, library service, cleaning of school, floor plan and information on continuation classes. 1949-62
[14/7896] Uranquinty Migrant Camp: The use of the school during weekends for religious observances and accommodation of teachers. 1949
[14/7898] Villawood Holding Centre: Establishment of school. 1952-53
[14/7906] Wallgrove Holding Centre:Appointment of assistant migrant teacher. 1950-51 
School records

Closed to Public Access (CPA) for 50 Years

In addition to the School files above, each school creates a number of different records about its operations, staff and pupils. These records include:

Admission registers These are a record of admission of children to school. They record: name; age; religious denomination; date of leaving last school; name, residence and occupation of parent or guardian; date of admission to each division and date of leaving school.

Observation books These consist of inspectors' observations on the operations of the school. They do not generally contain mention of individual pupils.

Punishment books These consist of details of punishments meted out to pupils. They provide: name; age; nature of offence; amount of punishment; instrument of punishment; date of punishment and by whom inflicted.

Visitors' books These record the names of any visitors and any remarks by the visitor such as 'incidental visit', 'ordinary inspection', or 'very pleasant afternoon'.

The following list shows School records held for those schools administered by the Department of School Education at Migrant Camps and Holding Centres.

It is likely that School records from towns where large numbers of immigrants worked and lived could also be of interest to the researcher. For this reason school records from Jindabyne Dam* have been included as an example of a school where a large proportion of the pupils were immigrants. In the case of Jindabyne Dam many of their parents worked for the Snowy Mountains Authority which provided the building in which the school was housed.

ItemType of recordDates
[1/10860] Cowra Migrant Centre:
Class Roll for grades 3 and 4Records pupils' names, date of birth, religious denomination and daily attendance.
Sep - Dec 1949
[1/9699] *Jindabyne Dam:
Admission Register
Jan 1953 - Jul 1964
[1/9698]  Observation Book Dec 1955 - 1963
[1/9681] Parkes Migrant Camp:
Admission Register
Sep 1949 - Apr 1952
[1/9539] Scheyville Migrant Camp:
Visitor’s Book
[1/9540] Admission Register 1950-59
[1/9541] Admission Register 1960-64
[1/9542] Observation Book 1950-64
[1/9543] Punishment Book 1952-64