Bassett Boys' Schoolroom 17 St Lukes Street
|Also known as:||Bassett School|
|Address:||17 St Lukes Street|
|Town or Locality:||Willunga|
|Built by:||Bassett, James|
|Used for:||school, council building, museum|
James 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'. Bassett's wife, Mary, continued to teach girls at Buckland House next door. 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 the National Trust However in the early 1980s it was used by Council as a 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 building. 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.
Memories of Bassett Boys' Schoolroom 17 St Lukes Street
Chronicle 29 May 1941 p18 remembers: In the 1850s, "the bigger girls stood in a half circle around Mrs Bassett to read and say their spelling...we younger ones at the back used to get up to mischief. One day we kept giggling, so Mrs Bassett...said, 'Oh Sarah, do try and manage your crinoline better than you do,' but Sarah always sat on the edge of her crinny, and it would hit her nose. That was where the giggle came in."