In 1889 the opening of the permanent entrance at Cunninghame (now known as Lakes Entrance) enabled a general penetration by settlers around parts of the Gippsland Lakes. The area known as the Silt Jetty at Eagle Point was the main centre of early settlement and it is not surprising that the first school was also located along the Silt Jetty.
Prior to being the first Eagle Point School, the building had served for SS2487 Mitchell River, also previously known as the Broadlands School. It was apparently a school with a residence attached and when the present Eagle Point School was built, it remained for many years the teacher’s residence; the teacher having to travel between two and three miles to the new school.
The first Eagle Point School on the Silt Jetty was opened on 1st October 1894 with Mr. Thomas Pedlow as Head Teacher.
While some of these early pioneers evidently followed farming pursuits, most worked in the fishing industry. As the neighbouring port of Paynesville had ice-works and facilities for marketing the fish, most of the Eagle Point fishermen found it more convenient to live at Paynesville and moved there.
The wharf at Eagle Point was visited regularly by such ships as ‘J.C.D.’ and ‘Gippsland’ both pleasure boats plus the ‘Burrabogie’, a cargo vessel. This had the effect of encouraging greater settlement where Eagle Point stands today. In 1921 the Education Department decided that a school on the present site, on Paynesville Road (now known as School Road), would be more centrally situated. The wisdom of this has been borne out by the further development over the last few years.
On 1st October 1994, we celebrated 100 years of the Eagle Point School with a reunion for past students, a BBQ lunch and a firework display in the evening. Plaques were also unveiled at both the Silt Jetty site and the present school, commemorating the Centenary.
(Drawing of original Silt Jetty School courtesy of Neta White).