Peter Ireland , President of Jandowae Hertitage & Progess Assoc. (10/6/2014)

Recreating The Past

Jandowae & District Progress and Heritage Association president Peter Ireland inspects the historc school building.

Peter Ireland
From '19th century school plans on the board' By Norther Downs News (10/6/2014)

IF Jandowae and District Progress and Heritage Association president Peter Ireland has his way, visitors to the Western Downs town will be taking a step back in time into the classroom within five years .

The group has undertaken an ambitious project to restore a 19th century school on the grounds of the iconic Athlone Cottage and Mr Ireland said the plan was to give both locals and tourists an insight into what education was like in the 1890s. .

"Our goal is to restore it back to original condition," he said. "About 80 years ago, we think it was turned into a residence and it's been moved a few times since then, to where you currently see it."

While the building — complete with cathedral ceiling — is in a state of disrepair, Mr Ireland said he knew what it could look like if the community dug deep for its restoration.

"It will probably cost $40,000 or $50,000 or so in the end, I'd reckon," he told the Northern Downs News during the Jandowae Timbertown Festival at the weekend. "It cost us $5000 to get seven windows made, so that should give you an idea. We'll try for grants if they become available but it is going to be more of a community-driven project."

Community spirit has already played a critical role in the project, with one person already opening their wallet wide.

"Someone paid $20,000 to get it here and have the asbestos removed from it," Mr Ireland said.

The complete restoration is expected to take "four or five years" and the group has put the call out for donations of classroom anyone who's got old school furniture from the period.

"We're trying to find desks," Mr Ireland said.
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