Like Pyrmont Public School in John Street, the Murray Street school was an awesome structure, expressing the State’s seriousness about public education. It was the most impressive building on the peninsula when it was built in 1876 (at a cost of almost £5,000) and opened the following year. Alas, it was almost certainly doomed from the start, by its location. It was close enough to quarrying, that rocks fell on it; it was far enough from made roads that vandals could wreck it; bubonic plague provoked the State to fumigate the place; and above all, the school stood in the way of railway expansion, the symbol and substance of nineteenth century progress.
These circumstances depressed some teachers and reduced their enthusiasm, and prompted some parents to seek alternative schools (such as St Bartholomew’s). Enrolments fluctuated with every item of bad news. The axe fell in 1914 when the site was resumed by the railways for the Darling Harbour Goods Yard.