1999old school

Jacqui purchased the old school in late 1999 and Peter proposed ‘building the dream’; seventeen long years later, here we are.

There is little documentation on the school other than reference to it in documents relating to the current school in Wolumla but we do know the school was the second school opened in the district reaching from Frogs Hollow in the north through to Toothdale and Wolumla.

Originally known as Wolumla South, the school opened for classes in 1866 and except for a break in 1867 operated continuously until it closed in 1960.

In 1866 the first teacher was a Miss Clarissa S Braine and the last teacher appointed in 1956, until the school was closed in 1960, was Mr Luke Livissianos.  There was no teacher’s residence at this school and most teachers rented rooms in the area.

1950s old school

The South Wolumla School had a full size tennis court and with a large tennis club was the centre of much of the community’s social activities.

Once closed the school remained unoccupied for several years until the Department of Education decided to sell and it was purchased by one of the local farming families.

It became a shed for hay storage for a number of years and eventually a small extension of laundry and septic toilet were added.  Later we were to learn that it was through this extension that the white ants gained access to the school and ate their merry way all the way to the top of the roof trusses.

The school was sold again and the then current owner cut many doorways in the building and added two lean-to skillions.  Unfortunately this added to the damage now well underway by the white ants and by the time the property was purchased in late 1999 it was in a very poor state.

We have done more than 90% of the building work on the new house and the restoration of the school having the professionals doing the plumbing, electrical fit-off and roof over the main section of the house.  Working in Canberra we would commute Friday evening ready to work on building the house over the weekend and then back to Canberra Sunday evening ready for paid work Monday morning.

The house was specifically built to appear as part of the school, the weatherboards were cut to the same profile as the school and the windows and door designs the same as some of those of the local farmhouses.

With only the mature pine trees, three Kurrajongs and two gums on the site originally we luckily planted many of our trees before building began and estimate we have planted over 400 shrubs and trees to create our wonderful oasis in amongst the beef and dairy pastures.

It gives us great pleasure when we are still visited by former pupils of the school, who remember their time here with great affection and enjoy seeing what we have done to their old school.