Bassett Boys’ Schoolroom, 17 St Lukes St, Willunga

James Bailey Bassett bought this allotment in 1857 and opened the newly built schoolroom for boys in 1862.  A local newspaper reported that the schoolroom ‘occupies a very prominent position, both as to the site and character and is an ornament to the east end of town’.  Meanwhile Bassett’s wife, Mary, taught girls at Buckland House school next door, which was also the family home.  The Bassetts involved themselves and their pupils in community affairs and were widely respected.  James Bassett died in 1875.

In the 1890’s, the Church of England, with Ella Hawkins as teacher, conducted a school for boys and girls in the schoolroom until it was sold to Willunga District Council in 1896 and used as a Council Chamber until 1962.

Since 1977 it has been leased to Willunga National Trust. In the early 1980s was used by Council as a temporary book depot for its Mobile library prior to the opening of the Willunga Library building. The Trust then undertook major restoration work, completed in May 1988. . The building is on both the State and National Heritage Registers.

The District Council Pound was located at the back of the Schoolroom.  Mrs Bertha Prior who lived in Buckland House, was pound-keeper in 1927.  William McGaffin, who lived in nearby St. Peters Terrace, assisted in rounding up the straying cattle and horses, which could be released on payment of 5/6.



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