Another little charmer to be found in Burkes Pass is The School Teachers House and I have used the information provided by the Burkes Pass heritage trail boards to detail a little of its history.
This little cottage was purpose built for the teacher just a short distance away from the School House. It is set in spacious grounds against a backdrop of mature trees. The small paddock to the north of the cottage was used for grazing the ponies of children who rode long distances to and from school.
It’s constructed in a classic Georgian-style complete with a charming front porch. It has 3 bedrooms with a central hall, a front sitting room and a kitchen at the back which contained a coal range for heating and cooking. A separate small building at the rear housed the copper and firebox for heating water with which to do the weekly wash.
In a rather familiar touch, an interior door frame marks the height of young Emily Taylor, whose father was the first schoolmaster, it reads “Emily without boots 8/7/81”.
The school opened with a roll of 20 and two teachers in 1879. By 1898, the roll had grown to 53 and there were three teachers. Population drift to Fairlie saw the roll sink to nine in 1913 and the school close at the end of the year. It re-opened in March 1920 with 12 pupils but its existence was precarious, closing permanently in 1943.
After the schools closure the School House was given to the community to be used as a hall, the Teachers cottage was taken over by the YHA in 1958. There were 12 beds for men and six for women. Over the course of 1966, a total of 651 people stayed at the hostel but numbers petered off and by 1969 Burkes Pass was no longer a stopover for travellers and the YHA closed.
The building is now a private residence.
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