Hawthorn West Primary School is one of the oldest Government Schools in Victoria. The first stone of the present school was laid on the 19th November 1853. The school building opened on the 28th February 1854 and consisted of two classrooms built from bluestone quarried in Richmond. Subjects taught in the 1850’s were reading, writing, simple arithmetic, geography, scripture and drawing.

Attendance wasn’t compulsory and many girls were not educated at all. School hours were 9am to noon and 2pm to 4pm, Monday to Friday and on Sundays the building was used for Sunday school. The national board of education report for the school for the year ended 30 June 1854 recorded an average student attendance of 79 (50 boys and 29 girls).

In 1863 the Board of National Education was formed and all schools were listed in alphabetical order and given a unique number, this school was called “Hawthorn Common School No. 293”. The school became Hawthorn State School No. 293 in 1872.

The Education Act of 1872 introduced a compulsory secular and basically free education throughout Victoria. In 1878 two single storey bluestone classrooms were added to the school on the west of the original classrooms. In 1885 three brick classrooms were added, one downstairs and two upstairs.

From 1918 the school became Hawthorn West Central School. Central schools offered the first two years of study for High School, forms 1 and 2. In 1921 the school was remodelled and modernised providing additional classrooms and accommodation for a science room, office and teacher’s room.

During the Great Depression, there was a fall in attendance and the school helped provide support to local relief organisations. During the Second World War (1939-1945), the Dads of many students were away at war. Schools were depleted of staff, equipment and money. Many teachers worked in factories or on farms during their holidays to assist in the war efforts. Retired teachers were recalled to fill vacancies when younger teachers went to war.

In 1953 the school celebrated a hundred years spent in childhood service. The day was filled with celebrations and at a special assembly in the west yard, each child received a centenary medal (six hundred were struck) and an ice-cream.

The opening of Richmond High School in the 1960’s resulted in the end of High School years at Hawthorn West and in 1971 the school became “Hawthorn West Primary School”.