With the expansion of the metropolitan area to the east, particularly in the Morley, Eden Hill and Caversham areas the government decided to build a new high school in the Hampton Park area of the Bayswater Shire Council. It had been suggested that it should be called “The Hampton Park High School’ or “The Governor Hampton High School” after Governor John Stephen Hampton (1862-1868). Although Governor Hampton was not a popular figure he was responsible for some of our public works including The Town Hall, the completion of Government House, the causeway and the bridge over the Swan River at Fremantle.
The school was scheduled to open in February 1966 but the buildings were not ready so the students used classrooms at Midland Technical School and Middle Swan Primary School. Students were bussed to external facilities to do Home Economics, Woodwork etc. In Term 2 (we had only three terms in those days) the students moved into their new home. A large number of the students were country pupils who were boarding at Swanleigh Hostel. Our feeder primary schools were Hampton Park, Weld Square, Eden Hill, Anzac Terrace and a few from Embleton and Morley. The enrolment in that first year was 266 Year 8 students and in 1970 one hundred graduated as Year 12s as many left to employment as jobs were plentiful in the 70s. Some of the Swanleighans probably went back to work on the family farms. In 1973 the school population was at its peak with 1534 students. At this stage there was no pool, gymnasium, theatre and the only grassed playing fields were the main oval and the hockey field near Maidstone Way. The other playing fields, pool area etc were natural bush. We also had ten demountables to cater for the large number of students. By the late 60s the quadrangle was completed and the other wings were added.
At this time Morley Drive was one lane each way and there were horses in paddocks across the road from the school buildings. The library was where the K rooms are now and we did have the services of the canteen. We also had a caretaker who lived on the premises in the house that was once used for Media and is now the STEP House. Schools no longer have resident caretakers.
The first principal of Hampton was Mr Eric Beckwith who had come from Geraldton. He stayed at the school until he retired in 1974. His replacement, Mr Eric Strauss (1975-83) was the driving force behind the building of the Eric Strauss Centre and the swimming pool. Mr Strauss was a leading sportsman himself and a great enthusiast of the arts so he wanted our students to have every opportunity to excel in these areas. With the assistance of the Education Department, the City of Bayswater and after many hours of fundraising by the P & C and the students the centre was officially opened on 22 April 1985.
Successive principals have also been supportive of the students in all of their endeavours. We have a fine history of musical and dramatic productions and participation in many sports. We also have numerous students who have taken to the stage, media or represented the state or country in a variety of sporting fields. We also have had many students who have achieved success in the academic arena( for example law, medicine and education).
In 1991 we celebrated 25 years with a festive reunion in the school grounds. Prior to this event we had an unveiling of an anniversary plaque by the foundation principal Mr Beckwith. This occurred on 12 April 1991 and the plaque is on the western wall of the main quadrangle. We also had a photo taken from a plane with all of the staff and students standing on the oval in the formation of Hampton 25 Years. All of the students wore their red shirts and we had a souvenir piece of red card that we held over our heads so that the photo was in red on the green grass.
In 1996 when we celebrated our thirtieth anniversary all five of the Hampton principals (Messers Beckwith, Strauss, Robert Chambers, Neil Ryan and the incumbent principal Mrs Halina Szunejko) were in attendance on reunion day. Since then we have had four more principals. Mrs Karen Arnold was in office when our ICT centre was built and opened in 2005. She was also working with the Education Department for an upgrade and refurbishment of the Eric Strauss Centre. Mrs Arnold was followed by Dr John Mortimer and Mr Lindsay Pearse. In 2010 Mrs Eleanor Hughes became principal and in 2013 having continued Karen Arnold’s work towards upgrading the Eric Strauss Centre, the new Hampton Senior High School Specialist Performing Arts facility will open.
The dance program began as a specialist course under Bev Dunlop in 1986 and is now part of the Department of Education Gifted and Talented course. Our dancers audition in Year 6 through the Department of Education to enter into GAT Dance. Throughout the year they perform at many different functions and venues including Kinetic Kaos (with other dance schools). In 2012 we have added recognised specialist programs in ICT, Performing Arts and Cheer Dance. Our Cheer Dance team is highly successful and has already won numerous competitions within Australia.