Follow Port Places

Flagship College in Fishermans Bend

Port Melbourne Secondary College opened this Monday, 31st January 2022.

Deputy Premier James Merlino cut the ribbon in the company of Martin Foley, member for Albert Park, foundation principal, Anne Stout, and 80 foundation Year 7 students.

In the burgeoning of local primary schools, the success of Albert Park College and the future of Fishermans Bend lay the demand for a new secondary school in the area.

The College has been taking shape under the lock down observant eyes of community members and passing motorists since the first sod was turned on 16 January 2020.

Martin Foley, MLA for Albert Park and Minister for Education, James Merlino on site in January 2020

The four storey school designed by Billard Leece takes cues from the surrounding context – the Spirit of Tasmania, the port, containers and industry. Each of the four sides and four levels of the school has a distinctive presentation and purpose. The school is designed for 1100 students and 124 teachers. Each year the school will take in a new cohort of Year 7 students.

The name Port Melbourne Secondary College was preferred to the Fishermans Bend options in online consultation in June last year. But to have a name is one thing, to translate that into an identity to express a future character is another.

The College asserts its PORT identity.

Designer Ian Scott worked with principal Anne Stout to develop a brand identity for the school – an identity to capture place and the College’s bold presence and aspirations. He abstracted nautical flags to spell PORT.

“The idea of using nautical flags just ticked all the boxes”, Ian said. “Once I started playing with the idea, I knew straight away, this was the one.”

The theme has been taken up in the reception area, to spell the word WELCOME.

The bold design of the vertical College contrasts with the subtle grey-green branding of Albert Park College which references the coast and the Bay – a school designed to sit comfortably in the Albert Park neighbourhood. On Friday 3 December 2021, Albert Park College was named government Secondary School of the Year as well as winning the overall award for Australian School of the Year in the Australian Education Awards.

A school in the community

Four ideas from early community consultation by the Victorian School Building Authority drove the design brief:

  • Build a school that doubles as a community hub
  • Build modern, state-of-the-art learning spaces, including outdoor areas
  • Reflect the suburb’s bayside location in the school design
  • Consider safe access as part of planning

After school on that very first day, when the temperature was 350, the gates on Graham Street were open. A familiar sound of multiple basketballs bouncing on a wooden floor indicated that students from the community were attending basketball practice, and that first principle was being embedded from the first day.

Less than 350 m away, also on Graham Street, parents were parting from their preppies with excitement and apprehension heightened by the COVID risk. In due course, those students can seamlessly transition to the Secondary College.

The College is located on the north west corner of Murphy’s Reserve. A strengthening walking desire line across Murphy’s Reserve from Woolworths reveals the links that are being made with that other side of Williamstown Rd and Fishermans Bend.

Flashing 40 kph signs have been installed to alert motorists that there are students making their way to and from school – unexpected by drivers on this route. There is a secure large bike storage shed on site. Improvements to Graham Street to make it safer and more attractive will give students, and their parents, more confidence to access the College on foot and by bike.

All these observations have been made from the outside the College. Inside, some of the facilities include

  • Gymnasium with competition-grade basketball and netball facilities
  • Food technology area with commercial-grade kitchen and canteen
  • Performing arts amenities
  • Fabrication lab
  • Robotics workshop
  • 200-seat lecture theatre

On that first day I enjoyed meeting Sefi and Ashanti on their first day making their way to the College. After school a student at the tram stop showed me the logo on his cap. These newly designed uniforms were so fresh, so crisp and new, not yet dulled by use.

Media reports noted that Port Melbourne Secondary College was one of 14 new state schools to open at the start of 2022.

So much has gone into the creation of this College – advocacy by community for a secondary school, championing the school from an idea to a reality by local member Martin Foley, the experience and oversight of the Victorian School Building Authority, architects Billard Leece, builders Hutchison, tradespeople and educationalists led by Anne Stout. And all of this has been achieved through the pandemic.

Fanfare for the new Port Melbourne Secondary College. May she sail strongly under her PORT flag.

main: entrance off Plummer Street, top right; basketball courts, bottom right: canteen


Read how the site has evolved in this article on Port Places, Murphy’s.

Find out more about the Port Melbourne Secondary College on the Victorian School Building Authority’s comprehensive website.

Timeline to a new school

July & August 2018consultation with the community to shape the design of the school
2018/19 state budget$3.8 million allocated to site planning
2019/20 state budget shares in $624.8 million for new schools
July 2019site selection announced
16 January 2020first official sod turn
June 2021the name Port Melbourne SC was chosen after consultation with the community
November 2022pracical completion
31 January 2022College opens its doors to Year 7 students

1 Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *