At the turn of the century a concern for Christian education in the Seventh-day Adventist Church community in Hobart saw the establishment of a school in the Hobart area. The early school (c.1900) quickly grew. Many parents outside the Adventist community sent their children to this school for the benefits of an education that stressed Christian principles, faith in the all-saving grace of God, practical skills and academic excellence.
These characteristics of the school have endured over time, as have the use of multi-grade classrooms and the supportiveness of a small school, family-like environment. One report (1901) reads “a mutual love exists between teacher and pupils. The Bible is made the basis of daily study and the children enjoy it.” It is evident from similar early written reports that members of the staff, the school board, and fellow students accorded the individual student a high value. An emphasis on Scripture is also evident.
In 1903 the school moved to a permanent site in Warwick Street that was occupied by the school until April, 1926. During this time a number of similar schools opened in other localities in Tasmania, including primary schools at Glen Huon and Collinsvale. The members of the Adventist communities in these locations financially supported the schools. The Hobart school continued to grow until in 1933, having outgrown the limited facilities of the inner suburb site, it was relocated to Fleet Street in Moonah, next to the Moonah Seventh-day Adventist Church. Over time, as the school grew, it developed into a multi-teacher institution. This saw the addition of classrooms and a hall, known within the school community as Haven Hall.
With continued growth, in 1957 high school grades were added, along with the construction of the necessary classroom facilities. The financial burden imposed by the addition of the high school caused a crisis in the funding arrangements of the school in the early 1960’s. Determined parental involvement, a consistent feature of the school, and the efforts of the staff at the time, resulted in planning for the expansion of the school population and an emphasis on the development of the range and depth of the curriculum, especially in the high school.
In the early 1970’s, well-equipped and spacious science and primary classroom buildings were constructed to cater for the expanding student population. The Fleet Street site was now becoming inadequate in playground facilities or for any future expansion. After investigation, the present site was purchased. The bushland setting, with panoramic views along the Derwent Valley, provided the ideal location for the modern facility that was constructed and occupied in late 1982.
The present school has experienced continued growth, with a special emphasis in the primary school. The features of the early school, stressing the individual within the school community, the close teacher-pupil bond, the multi-grade classrooms, the Christian ethos, academic excellence and the acquisition of practical life skills, are still strongly evident.
On the 1st September 1994, the school changed its name from Hobart Seventh-day Adventist Primary and High School to Hilliard Christian School.
(Researched and written by P. deVille)