Castlereagh building unlocks past

Anne Crombie has Lower Castlereagh's first public school in her backyard. Picture: Gene Ramirez

Anne Crombie has Lower Castlereagh's first public school in her backyard. Picture: Gene Ramirez

Ann Crombie was excited when her dream of owning acreage came true.

She became even more excited when she learned that an old building on her two-acre property in Castlereagh was originally a school.

In fact, it was one of three public schools in the area.

Originally, Castlereagh Public School opened in 1858 and was founded by Edgar Fuller. 

Over the next 150 years it moved to various premises in the area, and was spread across Castlereagh upper and Castlereagh lower schools until 1975.

Mrs Crombie said she found out about the school after residents told her about the building’s past.

‘‘We did speak to a chap that used to live off Castlereagh Road and he is no longer there because they demolished his home, but he used to come to this school and that is how we knew,’’ Mrs Crombie said.

‘‘We did have a bit of a surprise, but it was a nice surprise for us.’’

She believes the school was called the Lower Castlereagh Public School. 

‘‘It’s actually part lower because we found that it goes by the heights of the river,’’ she said.

Mrs Crombie said the school building, which still has the original blackboard and chimney, was now being used to house furniture.

The head teacher’s cottage on the property has been renovated over the years.

An old well also remains and two old oak trees.

Mrs Crombie said she discovered more information about the school after going through some old records given to her by the previous owner.

In the notes she discovered the school had once applied to have a pump installed for the well.

‘‘They were concerned that a child could 

fall into the well when they were getting water and so they applied for a pump,’’ she said.

Mrs Crombie hopes to renovate the old school building and start running a Bible-study class.

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