The Upper Harbour Side School was established in 1868 by the Otago Provincial Council and subsidised by the local residents. It consisted of one classroom (with two attached rooms being the teacher’s residence) and was built by a pioneer, Mr John Drake, at a cost of one hundred and seventy five pounds. The School opened with 21 pupils.

In 1883 the name was changed to the St Leonards School and around that time the roll increased to 41 pupils.

The new school building was opened in 1886 (the present day Library), the old building then being used as a play shed and drill shed on wet days.  It had now become a two classroom school and the first mistress (Miss Nimmo) was appointed to work alongside the then Headmaster, Mr Thomas Johnston. 


St Leonards School circa 1920s

Photo: Hocken Library, University of Otago