Sunday, 5 June 2016

Wattle Hill Schoolhouse

Designed by the noted colonial architect, Henry Hunter, the Wattle Hill Schoolhouse & residence was erected at a cost of about 300 pounds in 1868 on a portion of land orginally owned by Andrew Counsel. It was a “T” shaped building constructed of brick on stone foundations with a gabled roof. The schoolroom was in the stem of the “T” and the residence, consisting of two upstairs & two downstairs rooms was situated on the head of the “T”.

A report from the time concerning the new school noted: “The newly erected pretty school house and teachers residence at Wattle Hill, a delightful suburban settlement near the town of Sorell, are, under the superintendence of Mr Jonas Gatehouse, Mr John Walker Jnr and Mr Ephraim Newitt as the local committee, fast progressing towards completion. Mr R Wiggins, the builder, has been instructed to push forward the work with all speed which is what he is doing.

The carpentering is going on a pace and the painters, will have commenced the painting of the finished parts of the building and within a week or two, Mr Henry Hunter, the architect, will proceed to the place to report on the workings. There has never been a public school at Wattle Hill and the rising generation of school age pupils sufficient to be brought under the tuition of a public school master and mistress currently numbers close to 60. The opening of the school building is to be celebrated by a fete towards which, Mr John Walker has promised to contribute the handsome sum of 5 pounds.”

The school served the Wattle Hill community until 1939 when it was closed. The building remained vacant during the war years and following World War 2, it was rented out to war widows before being sold to private owners. The building has been extensively renovated and reconfigured internally and continues to act as a private residence to this day.

Main Text & Information Source – 
Sorell Heritage Study Site Inventory Vol 6 – Sorell Municipal Council