Annandale is one of Sydney’s oldest suburbs, steeped in history with the original land grant given to Lieut.Col. to George Johnston in 1793. Developed mainly between 1870 and 1913, it was a model town, there was even a competition to design it. This planning led to a number of wide open streets in the suburb, a rarity in most inner city areas. There was a time towards the end of the last century when to have a Johnston Street address was to see yourself well up on the social ladder. Johnston Street is one of the widest and most impressive in Sydney, named after George Johnston, solider and “first fleeter” who joined the notorious NSW Corps and rose rapidly through the ranks.
In August this year Annandale Public school located at 25 Johnston Street, will celebrate it’s 125th anniversary which opened on the 31st August 1886.
The school-house was originally built of brick upon1 stone foundation’s, and furnished accommodation for about 600 children. It is a plain hut substantial building, and well suited for the requirements of the neighbourhood. The building comprises four large school-rooms, two class- rooms, and a master’s and teachers’ room. It was furnished throughout with the latest appliances, and was well furnished with desks and other school furniture. SMH August 1886
For many years between 1886 - 1920 it was referred to Annandale Superior Public School
The original Sandstone gates of Annandale House were moved to the front of Annandale Public School in 1976.
The gates originally stood just off Parramatta Road, on the crest of the hill, on the south side, where the Globe Cinema stood until 1988 and where a row of three businesses including a computer outlet stand today at 192 Parramatta Road. At the centre of each gate hung a cast iron shield featuring the Johnston crest, the flying spur. From the gates an avenue of Norfolk Island pines led south to the house.
Dating the gates is not easy in the absence of documentary evidence, but the impression stylistically that they date from about 1875-1880 is consistent with the changing situation of the Johnston family at that time.The gates had been removed and re-erected at Liverpool showground and subsequently dismantled again. In 1972, they were located by the Annandale Association in storage at Liverpool Council’s depot. Liverpool Council presented the gates to Leichhardt Council in 1972, to commemorate Leichhardt’s municipal centenary. In 1976 it was agreed that they should be included in the landscaping by the Department of Education of the area, now part of the school grounds, where the house “Greyholme” had stood. The Education Department, the school’s headmaster Mr P. Bracks, Leichhardt Council and the Annandale Association agreed to this proposal.
Sources: “Our History” Annandale Public School 1886-1986
Leichhardt Local History Vertical files.
Keep posted for the new publication of Annandale Public School 1886 – 2011 being compiled by the current P&C.