Historians oppose demolition of old Wauchope Public School building

The historic buildings at Wauchope Public School.
The historic buildings at Wauchope Public School.

Local historians are objecting to the proposed demolition of an old building in Wauchope Public School.

Wauchope District Historical Society treasurer, Jeannette Rainbow has submitted an objection to the demolishing of the historic building in the development application.

“These century-old buildings at Wauchope Public School are constructed of local mahogany  timber sourced from local forests and various other hardwoods for the windows and surrounds,” wrote Mrs Rainbow.

“The design is a typical early 20th century public school building. The unique aspect of the building is its L shape configuration that is rare today as many larger schools have demolished these impressive, historic structures for modern classrooms.” 

Mrs Rainbow added that the fact that the chimneys and fireplaces remain in situ is also a rare feature.

Artist's impression of the planned new school building.

Artist's impression of the planned new school building.

“These buildings are structurally sound and well maintained and far more aesthetically pleasing  visually than modern fabricated buildings.

“It would be an indictment if these buildings were being demolished as Wauchope Public School is planning their sesqui -centenary celebrations for 2018. 

“Surely construction of the new classrooms on a clear area would be far more suitable and less disruptive for all the staff and students?

“Wauchope is very proud of its timber past  and its historical  buildings, I am sure they will be outraged at this proposition,” said Mrs Rainbow.

However, parent Kaela Croft said the new addition to the school will be a wonderful asset and a state-of-the-art 21st century learning space for the school’s children.

“The opportunities it will provide for the children's education are endless, providing equitable access to engaging learning spaces including outdoor/indoor areas that will cater to a variety of differing student learning styles. While the school takes great pride in its rich heritage it is essential that they are able to provide modern and relevant facilities for students,” said Mrs Croft.

“While the current exterior of the building looks charming and quaint, the classrooms are stinking hot in summer and freezing cold in winter. They are no longer functional work spaces. 

“This is a wonderful thing for our children. Embrace it people.  Take some time to view what is available and what is about to evolve.”

A spokesman for the NSW Department of Education said the development application (DA) for the project to upgrade Wauchope Public School, which includes the demolition of Block 6, has been lodged with the council.

“The department will work with Council through the DA approval process to address any issues raised, including the heritage concerns relating to Block 6,” he added.

BRIEF HISTORY OF WAUCHOPE PUBLIC SCHOOL

Wauchope Primary School was officially acknowledged in 1868 on a site at the river. 

In 1917, a four-roomed wooden school was built on a four-acre site in Waugh Street, from the estate of Duncan Bain, 

It was opened in 1918 and by 1920, there were 200 pupils and it has been used continuously for 99 years.