Last updated:

October 14, 2016


The Villers-Bretonneux School Photograph Collection features items of various formats that document the role of the Victorian Department of Education and the school children of Victoria in the rebuilding of the school at Villers-Bretonneux, France after its destruction in 1918 during World War 1.

Re-named 'Victoria College', the Ecole de Garcons (Boys School) in Villers-Bretonneux was destroyed along with much of the town on the 25th April 1918 when the Australian 13th and 15th Brigades under Brigadier-General Glasgow and Brigadier-General Elliot respectively recaptured it from the Germans in a battle in which over 1,200 Australian soldiers were killed.

The school was rebuilt with donations from Australia. School children and their teachers helped the effort by asking for pennies- in what became known as the Penny Drive -while the Victorian Department of Education contributed 12,000 pounds to the War Relief Fund.