Through the efforts of the Women’s Institute the first Government School in Hillcrest was opened on 27 January 1953 by Mr. Lester Hall. This school consisted of two temporary classrooms between the Old Main Road and the railway line close to where Hillcrest Hardware stands today. There were 33 pupils in classes one, two and three (Std one). There was a small toilet and washroom block surrounded by wild veld grass. There was no separate office or staff rooms. Mrs. Wife, the principal, chose the khaki uniforms and decided on the motto ‘Be True”.
Mrs. Wife was transferred after 6 months and Miss Seymour became the new principal in 1954.
Because of the re-siting of the railway line the school had to be vacated and St Margaret’s School was once again used to house the whole school in 1956. This house stood where the present pool is now positioned. Soon three pre-fabs were erected to house more standards.
In 1960 Miss Seymour was promoted to principal of Ladysmith Primary and she was replaced by Mr. Merritt, who renamed the school houses, Crane, Eagle and Ibis, and later in Mr. Martin’s time Hawk was introduced.
Work began on the new school in 1958 and on 8 October 1962 the new school was occupied and arrangements were made for the demolition of the old St Margaret’s School building to make room for playing fields.
In 1966 Mr. Louw was appointed as acting headmaster and by now there were about 250 pupils in the school. Mr. Sid Martin took over the headship in July 1968.
In 1969 there was no hall so the assemblies were held outside in the courtyard. Later the old woodwork room became the hall. There was no tuck shop, nor upper fields or Foundation Phase buildings. That entire area was occupied by an old blue gum plantation which was finally cleared to make way for the Tuck shop field.
1971 saw the opening of the Junior Primary School buildings.
Mr. Paul Grobbler, a local farmer was the prime mover in raising funds for a school hall. When the hall was completed in 1972, it was named in his honour. (This hall is now the present Senior Primary Multi-media Centre.)
By 1972 the school had grown to such an extent that the upper story of the classroom block, tuck shop and change rooms were added.
Due to a huge fund-raising effort the swimming pool was completed in 1974, so the children wouldn’t have to walk to private residential pools in the area for swimming lessons and in 1977 the tennis courts were constructed.
Mr. Martin retired in 1982 and was replaced by Mr. Sawyer.
The early 1990’s saw the end of apartheid and the doors were opened to other race groups and cultures, adding a new and exciting dimension to Hillcrest Primary. By 1994 the school comprised of 830 pupils.
Mr. Sawyer retired in January 2002 and Miss Chapman took over as acting principal. Miss Chapman was finally appointed as principal in 2003. In 2003 the JP were unable to accommodate the remedial children due to the increase in numbers. The RU moved to the old woodwork room and store-rooms in the SP section. They also took over two old prefabs for additional classrooms.
2005 saw the opening of the new Junior Primary Media Centre and Computer room, made possible by the generous donations of Plantations and several businesses from the Hillcrest area. Work on the new hall was started in 2005. A time capsule was placed into the brickwork of the wall below the orchestra pit at the back of the hall, to be opened in the year 2055 (50 years later) so that pupils of that time will have an idea what school was like in the year 2005. The Multi-purpose hall and music block was officially opened in October 2009.
In 2007/8 the SP Media Centre moved to the old hall and the RU divided the old Media Centre into 2 classrooms and a computer section for the opening of the LSEN unit (Learner’s with Special Education Needs) in 2008.
In 2009 the RU applied to The Wessel’s Trust and were awarded one million rand. As a result of this eight new classrooms as well as a staffroom were built. A further two hundred thousand rand was awarded by the same trust in 2011 and the existing garage was converted to a reading room. The RU took occupation of this new block in 2012.
In 2013 an artificial soccer pitch was built by Adam Humphrey of Footy5SA and funds raised by the school in 2012 were used to buy a Toyota Quantum 16 seater bus.
Due to massive fundraising efforts a new smaller swimming pool was built and officially opened in 2014.