The former Darawank Public School is a heritage listed building and a fine example of a nineteenth century brick school in the New South Wales Mid-Coast region.1 The school was built on land owned by James Brown, a farmer, who bought 100 acres of farmland along the Wallamba River in 1889.2 Soon after, two acres of this land was resumed for the purpose of establishing the first school in the area. 3
The school opened as a full public school in 1889 with about 20 students in attendance.4 It is likely that the school was operating out of a temporary building until the school building was completed around 1891. In 1923 the school was closed due to falling enrolments, and over the next two years the Darawank community lobbied the Department of Education to reopen the school.5 In 1925 it reopened as a provisional school and once again became a public school in 1928. The school closed its doors for good in 1958 due to low enrolments.6
The building was used as a polling station during numerous elections and as an issuing centre for ration cards during and after WWII.7 It also played host to lantern nights where amusing slide shows were conducted to raise money for school purposes.8 The former Darawank Public School is now privately owned and currently operates as a photography studio.
Author: Janine Roberts
1 Great Lakes Council Heritage Study, 2007, p. 52.
2 Land & Property Information, Vol-Fol: 919-8.
3 Findmypast.com.au. NSW will books 1800-1952. James Brown will 1893.
4 Great Lakes Council Heritage Study, 2007, p. 52.
5 Wingham Chronicle and Manning River Observer, 27 June 1924.
6 Great Lakes Council Heritage Study, 2007, p. 52.
7 Gloucester Advocate,29 Nov 1919; Dungog Chronicle, 24 November 1948.
8 Wingham Chronicle and Manning River Observer, 8 September 1906.