Western Australia's first education authority, the General Board of Education (WAA 24), was established in 1847 to oversee the development of the Colony's schools. It established secular girls' and boys' schools in Perth, opened government-assisted schools in rural districts, and subsidised Roman Catholic schools.
The Education Department of Western Australia began operation in 1893 following amendments to the Elementary Education Act of 1871, which abolished the Central Board of Education (previously the General Board of Education) and appointed a Minister of Education in its place. Under the 1893 Act schools were classified, teachers were graded, teachers' positions were defined and a salary scale for teachers implemented. The Minister was also empowered to appoint and dismiss teachers. The Act also abolished school fees, provided for co-educational schools and made attendance compulsory for children between six and fourteen years old.
The records of the Education Department and its predecessor and successor agencies are located at the State Records Office (SRO) of Western Australia: AN 45, WAA 725, WAA 24, WAA 25, WAA 12 and WAA 13.
The Education Department of Western Australia is now (2004) called the Department of Education and Training. It provides school education for more than 250,000 students in 770 schools.
State Records Office, Western Australia, website http://www.sro.wa.gov.au/collection/education.html