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The First Mt Albert Primary School

Our first Mt Albert primary school opened its doors in 1870  as a result of the Common Schools Act  to remove education from church responsibility. Mr McElwain presented 1 acre to the Auckland Education Board from his farmland between Kingsland and Morningside. The Mt Albert school roll of 1879 classes one and two, mention very familiar names in Mt Albert-  Sadgrove,  Woodward, Garlick, Kelly, Walters, McGeehan, McDonald, McBride – the list goes on. The first wooden school building was erected by local residents at their expense on the site. In 1880, this first building was removed, and replaced by a two-roomed wooden building. 

The school roll grew rapidly and the building underwent a number of  additions and remodelling over the years. From 1903 – 1906 attendance grew from 248 to 323 on average with 5 teachers who in fact had to share classrooms. This was an unsatisfactory state of affairs and in 1912  the addition of two classrooms were made  to accommodate sixty pupils, though the Chief Inspector noted that “I do not think the accommodation thus provided will be able to meet the rapidly growing needs of this suburban district”

The school was remodelled again in the 1920s but a request for a rebuild denied , as it was pointed out that the Auckland Education Board owned another site on the corner of Mountain Rd(now  Kitenui  Ave) and Alexandra Ave (now Alexis Ave) and it was considered better to build there than add to the present site.
The school was however never built on that site as by 1936 the Education Board was looking at the site occupied by the Morningside Quarries (commonly referred to as Wilson’s Quarry) on Salisbury Rd ( now Sainsbury). Tenders were finally put out for the building work in 1939 and the Mt Albert School was relocated to Sainsbury Road in 1940. 
The Auckland Education Board held onto the School Rd property until 1954. It leased the building to the RSA for 21 years . The crown split the building from the rest of the site in subdivision and the reserve was vested in the council.

It is still crown property under the Ministry of Maori Development.
The  school  these days is in a disgraceful  state . 
Neglected and unloved and yet such an integral part of the history of our suburb Mt Albert. It would make such a wonderful community building for Mt Albert of which we are sorely in need and some questions need to be asked.
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