The Learning Centres were named in 2019. The areas had previously been known as Junior, Middle and Senior Learning Centres but this became impractical as year levels moved between buildings to best suit class sizes.
The Barak Learning Centre
The Barak Centre is named in honour of William Barak 1824-1903
Ngurungaeta of the Wurundjeri people, and famous Australian Artist.
Barak was said to have been present as a boy when John Batman met with the tribal elders to ‘purchase’ the Melbourne area in 1835.
When he joined the Native Mounted Police in 1844, he was given the name of William Barak. He was Police Trooper No.19.
In 1875, he became tribal leader. He worked tirelessly for his people and was a successful negotiator on their behalf. He was a highly respected man and leader, with standing amongst the Indigenous people and the European settlers.
Barak is now best remembered for his artworks, which show both traditional Indigenous life and encounters with Europeans. They are now highly prized and exhibited in leading public galleries in Australia. His work is on permanent display in the National Gallery of Victoria Ian Potter Centre at Federation Square, Melbourne.
The Wilson Learning Centre
The Wilson centre is named in honour of Miss Anne Wilson was the teacher who lobbied the department of education to purchase land and build a school in Gembrook. Her letters are dated 1914. Works commenced on our current site in 1915.
Prior to this a school had been run out of a hall in the main street and Miss Wilson had to set up the school every morning and then pack it away each night as the hall was also used for other purposes.
The Parker Learning Centre
The Parker centre is named in honour of the Parker family who first moved to Gembrook in 1908 and 10 years later moved to a 7 acre property called Belvedere on Station Rd, bordering what would eventually become the site of Gembrook Primary School. Genseric (Bill) Parker was a son of the family who attended Gembrook Primary School. At age 21, he rented land in Gembrook and began growing potatoes commercially. He also served as a commando in WWII.
Mr Parker was a recipient of the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in 2008, following a Centenary Medal in 2001.
Mr Parker has served as a member of the Gembrook Cemetery Trust from 1958, was on the committee of the Friends of Kurth Kiln and was a life governor and former president of the Mountain District Community Centre. He was the author of the book ‘Forest To Farming – Gembrook An Early History’.
On reflection he said “I have been on 14 different committees in Gembrook, Cockatoo, Emerald and Monbulk and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it,” he said “I’m very proud to have been able to do something for Gembrook,” he said. “I have lived here all my life except for when I was overseas seeing active service in World War II.