There’s a rich history hidden behind the walls of the Old Schoolhouse Milton.
“As untaught strangers pass by this dwelling they would hardly guess at the history contained within these walls, a history that encompasses the beginning of public education in the Milton area” – Tales out of School
The Little School on Croobyar Road was built by the Warden family in 1880. David Warden was well known as a local public benefactor. The Croobyar School was originally built to educate the children of the farm workers in the surrounding area and in 1881 it had 54 pupils.
You can still see the original family heritage listed home Airlie House sitting high on the hill to the south as you drive back towards town, and the historic Warden family graveyard and its centuries old pine trees lie on land next to the Old Schoolhouse property.
The Little Croobyar School operated for around 50 – 60 years, serving not just as a School but also as a social centre for the families from surrounding farms. The grounds had a tennis court which was regularly used by the community during weekends and a beautiful garden out the front of the property installed by one of the teachers C.J. Turnbull. Regular celebrations and school picnics were often held for Empire Day and Christmas.
The School itself was closed during the second world war and demolished in 1947 with the sandstone bricks and materials reused in newer buildings in Milton. You can still see the footings of the school building on the edge of the original asphalt playground that fronted the school building and now serves as the parking area.
In 1967 the dwelling and surrounding two acres were sold and the new owners rebuilt the failing front and back walls on the original foundations and added verandahs and an extension, though the School House was unable to be completely preserved, care was taken to save as much of the original features as possible including some of the fireplaces and much of the interior structure.
A second ‘cottage’ we call the Stables was transported here by the first owner in the early 1970’s as his work room and though not original to this land also holds some history of the area having been the laundry from the first Milton hospital which was established in 1908 and moved to a new site in 1967.
In 2015 the property was purchased by its current custodian Jenny Paul who has embarked on a mission to restore the soul of community spirit that the Little Croobyar School once inspired.
Jenny has worked hard to turn the Old Schoolhouse property into a place where people feel welcomed and comfortable. As well as maintaining the grounds and sharing the history of the Schoolhouse she has also added her own touch to a home that seems to have been having additions, extensions and renovations for most of its life.
The Old Schoolhouse retains all of its authentic charms and some added new ones, with a second story master suite and an extended living dining area at the rear of the building. During the recent renovations some discoveries were made including beautiful old brickwork underneath the old kitchen fireplace which has been lovingly restored and now leads you into the original front sitting room and bedroom