Red Cliffs Central School commenced primary classes in 1937. As early as 1945 the Central School Committee were requesting the establishment of secondary classes to Form IV. In 1950 a 15 acre piece of land was purchased for the establishment of a high school in Red Cliffs by the Victorian Education Department. Originally the selected site for the school is where the current sewerage treatment works is, with the treatment works originally planned for Fitzroy Avenue, however following representations from local residents, the sites were swapped. The local RSL and members of parliament actively promoted a recommendation of a high school from the Red Cliffs Central School Committee in 1957, and in 1959 the Victorian Education Department agreed to this proposal.
Secondary Classes commenced in classes at the Red Cliffs Central School in 1961, with 118 students in Forms I and II, while construction of the new high school commenced in May of that year.
In 1962 185 students in Forms I, II and III commenced classes at Red Cliffs High School on the current Fitzroy Avenue site, with Mr. A Cracknell as the school’s first Headmaster.
In 1963 the entire building had to be jacked up and set on more solid foundations, due to significant subsidence, which had cracked walls and jammed windows and doors. The front oval was sown, with the local Apex Club installing an irrigation system.
During 1964 and 1965 asphalt was laid, tennis courts and cricket nets installed and the irrigation pump installed. By June 11th 1965 – the day the school was officially opened, the school had grown to 280 students studying up to Matriculation level. The school was officially opened by JS Bloomfield, then Minister for Education.
The school was expanded in 1968 and 1969 with the construction of science rooms. In 1972 the school took over the lease of a fruit block in Cardross, which it still owns today, with the proceeds of the sale of the wine grapes currently supporting the school’s Chaplaincy program.
Between 1974 and 1978 a number of transportable buildings came on site, including the library. Construction of the Arts Wing also commenced, with this and the library being officially opened July 24th 1979.
Lobbying began for a multi-purpose hall in 1980. Mildura Shire and the Education Department agreed to the sharing of the funding of an Activity Centre, which was completed and officially opened September 26th 1984.
December 1991 was the last time that the school was known as Red Cliffs High School, with Red Cliffs Secondary College coming into being at the start of 1992.
In 1993 the school became the subject of a political battle, when the Victorian State Government of the time rolled out the Quality Provisions education plan, which detailed a single VCE provider for the Sunraysia district, with all other state secondary schools to become 7-10 only. The Red Cliffs community opposed this, and a number of public meetings were held. The wishes of the community won out and Red Cliffs Secondary College remains to this day as the only Government 7-12 school in the Sunraysia district.
A new library and performing arts centre facilities were constructed during 2001 and were officially opened July 27th 2002. Also in 2002 the school became affiliated with the SoundHouse Music Alliance, and international music and media technology organisation.
Extensions were made to the Activity Centre in 2007, with extra classroom and teacher preparation space added.
In 2008 a memorial garden was built by year 11 VCAL students to honour the memory of Red Cliffs High/Secondary students who had died aged 21 or under.
2009 saw the school go through its second major political challenge to its structure, when a Red Cliffs P-12 school was proposed by the Education Department. Six schools were encouraged to merge as one; Red Cliffs Secondary, Red Cliffs Primary, Red Cliffs East Primary, Sunnycliffs Primary, Cardross Primary and Koorlong Primary. Only 2 of the 6 schools voted for the merger and the motion was lost. Also in 2009 an adolescent playground was constructed, made possible through the generosity of the Hugh Williamson Foundation. This same group funded the acquisition of a student wellbeing centre, which opened in February 2011.
Numerous federal government funding initiatives through the Building Education Revolution (BER)in 2010 saw refurbishments to the outside of the school, including brick paving and large shade areas. A new science centre was also constructed during this time (also part of BER), which was opened in term 2 2011.
Principals of the School
- AM Cracknell (1961-1963)
- GG Sloane (1964-1966)
- J Fletcher (1967-1968)
- JA Mitchell (1969-1972)
- E Borschmann (1973-1980)
- E Warhurst (1981-1992)
- (D Currie acting Principal in 1993)
- G Roberts (1994 to 1995)
- (M Jackman acting Principal in 1996)
- J Cortese (1997-2008)
- DG Browne (2009-present)