Annandale Public School 125th anniversery 1886 -2011

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

Annandale Public School, infants dept.

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.

Annandale Gates

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.

Marine Officer, Convict Wife : the Johnstons of Annandale

George Johnston played an important part in creating a viable colony out of pitiable beginnings. He gained enduring notoriety for deposing govenor Bligh in 1808 but his wider role as a soldier and entrepreneur was no less important. In a new book written by Alan Roberts of the Annandale Urban Research Association Johnston’s achievements, and their personal cost to him, provide for a fascinating read.

More striking is the depiction of Esther, a young milliner transported for stealing 21 yards of silk lace who rose to play a key role in managing Johnston’s large pastoral properties. The name of Johnston will always be associated with Annandale, if only for Johnston Street. Marine Officer, Convict Wife is a study of place as well as personality, tracing the development of Annandale from 1793 when the family farm and mansion dominated the district just west of Sydney, to the 1870s when it began to take shape as a suburb.

Paintings, drawings and photographs illustrate a new world being created in an unfamiliar landscape. Funded through Leichhardt Council’s Local History Grants Programme, Marine Officer, Convict Wife will fascinate not just those who enjoy local history and architecture, but anyone with an interest in the early days of white settlement in Sydney. Available from all good bookstores, Marine Officer, Convict Wife retails at $29.95