Celebrating 180 Years.
Richmond Primary School is 180 years old! The first school building on this site, the ‘Old School House’ is the oldest continuously used public education facility in Australia being convict built in 1834.
The original school house was designed by John Lee Archer who also designed the nearby historic St. Luke’s Church. The decision to build the school was made by Lieutenant Governor Arthur in January 1833. Building was commenced in 1834 and completed in 1835, with tales of delays in completion due to having to rip up floorboards to enable St Luke’s Church to be finished.
The Old School House was originally built on land owned by J.H. Butcher after which the nearby hill overlooking the town, Butchers Hill, is named.
The building of the school house was subsidised by the government of the day.
Initially the school was run as a denominational church school under the control of the Church of England with control passing between the Church and the Board of Education until it formally became a state school. The school house not only consisted of a classroom but contained rooms used as the residence for the schoolmaster.
In later years the Old School House was used as the headmaster’s residence until the 1970s when the appointed schoolmaster simply had too many children to fit!! In recent years past residents passing through Richmond have stopped by and requested a look through the building and to stand in their “old bedroom” as they shared tales of their life in the house and at the school whilst their father was the Headmaster.
No longer a headmasters residence, the School House became the local Neighbourhood House and meeting place for Richmond Playgroup before once again being used as a classroom when numbers at the school increased such that a separate room was required for the Kindergarten class in 1996.The kitchen was used by children to produce fabulous delicacies and a weekly canteen run by the Parents and Friends Association.
In 1998 it became the School Library, with the “front room” housing the local Online Access Centre from 1999 to 2008.
In 2008 the Old School House underwent restoration with funds provided by a Federal Government Heritage Grant. The restoration saw the building returned to its original state internally with the removal of false walls that had been added over time. The enlarged rooms now comfortably house the school’s library and Teacher’s Resource Room.