The immediate Torquay district had schools located at
- Jan Juc / Bellbrae
- Connewarre – schools 739, 138 and 2088
- Freshwater Creek
- Mt Duneed
Over time schools have merged, consequently some sites have disappeared, while some independent schools have emerged. Detailed information on the school that have closed down can be found at https://surfcoastheritagegroup.wordpress.com/
Today the state schools which still continue to offer education are Bellbrae, Mt Duneed (though on a different site after the merger with Connewarre and Freshwater Creek) and Torquay (now on a new site). New schools which have emerged are St. Therese and Surf Coast Secondary College (Torquay), Geelong Lutheran College (Mt Duneed) and Freshwater Creek Steiner School.
Closing schools and merging schools was not a new phenomenon when it occurred across the state back in the 1980s. Victoria had denominational schools which were established by various religious groups and in 1949 Victoria established the national schools, which were designed to be of benefit to all denominations on equal terms.
The Freshwater Creek Denominational School which opened in 1856 then closed in 1883 when the students moved to the new State School on Anglesea Road in 1883. The Duneed Denominational (Presbyterian) also known as Pettavel Denominational school, also opened its doors in 1856 on Pettavel Road, adjacent to the Pettavel Railway Station. It became the Pettavel State School in 1884 closing down in 1910. Joseph Gundry arrived in the district in 1839 and was one of the first to buy Crown land in 1857. He was Manager of the Iron Bark Station at the time and established a school in a small wooden room attached to his home for the Gundry children. Other families paid to have their children taught with the Gundry family. The town grew, Joseph Gundry built a new house in 1861 and a new school opened that same year, which continues to offer education today.
Connewarre Denominational Schools – St. Dunstan’s on Dans Road, opened its doors in 1858 followed by the Connewarre East Denominational School in 1864. By 1878 both school schools had closed down and the new Connewarre State School opened on Bluestone School Road.
Prior to the Mount Duneed State School opening in 1878, the Mt Duneed National School opened in 1861 and the Mt Duneed Denominational School, St. Wilfred’s opened in 1862. Both these schools closed with the opening of the State School.
Often overlooked is the little State School of Breamlea which opened only for a short time from 1952 to 1966.
After mergers of the 1990’s, educational choices in the district grew as the population grew in the 2000’s. New to the area was the Freshwater Creek Steiner school opening in 2003, Geelong Lutheran College and the Surf Coast Secondary College both opening in 2009.