Ours is a Long and Valued History of ‘Hands-On’ Education

1995 – 1999


Nick Hardie


Hamilton Secondary College has a long and valued history of a ‘hands-on’ approach to education going back to its foundation as Mitchell Park Boys Technical High School in 1958. Today Hamilton Secondary College is a recognised leader in the delivery of secondary education, vocational education and training (VET) and adult re-entry education. This does justice to its history not only as a technical high school but also to the fact that as a rapidly growing technical school in the late 1950s, Mitchell Park had a prominent focus on night adult education classes.

Hamilton Secondary College is now a large and complex government secondary school which offers a multi-faceted curriculum to meet the needs of a wide variety of students. Hamilton has a centre for students with severe and multiple disabilities and significant intellectual disabilities, has an innovative middle school enrolling students from years seven to nine, a senior secondary campus, a large adult re-entry campus and is a Registered Training Organisation delivering vocational education and training (VET). In its long history Hamilton (named for the Hamilton vineyards when Mitchell Park and Glengowrie High Schools were amalgamated on the Mitchell Park grounds) has faced many changes in educational practices and organisation but will go into the third millennium with a vigorous and enthusiastic focus on the needs of its students, their welfare and their employment future.

Hamilton Secondary College has always been a leader in educational delivery. In its early days as Mitchell Park Boys Technical High School, Mitchell Park was the first school in the state to introduce subjects such as photography and electronics. Over time, the school has accommodated many name changes from Mitchell Park High School, Hamilton Secondary School and now Hamilton Secondary College. Each of these changes has foreshadowed changes to the curriculum and methodology of educational delivery and Hamilton has continued with its history of innovation. Today the Key Competencies, nationally recognised VET qualifications and alternative pathways are built into Hamilton Secondary College’s curriculum, from year seven to year 12 SACE – the South Australian Certificate of Education. The curriculum is flexible and increasingly interdisciplinary and strongly focused on student and community needs.

Hamilton remains a leader in vocational and educational training, middle schooling and special education. In the past few years Hamilton has been a Science Focus School and a Literacy Focus School and has had a strong focus on technology across the curriculum (particularly information technology), supporting its students in acquiring the skills of life long learning.

Editor’s postscript:

In an article entitled ‘Silent stars of the big screenBronwyn Hurrell reported the work of Professor Julie James Bailey, author of Reel Women: Working in Film and Television, who ‘came across the media course at Hamilton Secondary College and was extremely impressed.’ She said, ‘It’s the only (course) that feeds into the commercial TV stations having some knowledge of equipment. It’s the only course I’m aware of in the whole of Australia.’


© Erica Jolly and individual authors