Interesting finds uncovered at Barkly’s

From left to right, are some of the old pictures that were found.

After gathering dust for years, some interesting finds, including an old piano and collection of photo albums, were uncovered while Barkly House Pre-Primary moved premises from Claremont to Kenilworth.

The school opened on the grounds of the Lady Buxton home in Claremont on March 18 1939 but when the school outgrew the original building, a second one was added.

In 1945, the school moved to a larger property in Harfield Road in Claremont and became part of a campus that included a training college and a students’ residence.

Barkly House principal Theresa Rushby said the school was later divided into two schools as it continued to grow.

These schools, and the newly-named Buxton Training College (now Claremont High School), officially opened in April 1952. Both schools and the training college adopted the Barkly House name in 1957. In 1999, Barkly House became an independent school and elected its first governing body.

Ms Rushby said with the expansion of Claremont High School and the imminent demolition of the derelict residence, Barkly House needed a new home.

A building was secured on the grounds of Voortrekker High School and opened its doors on January 17, this year.

“The new school is centered around a charming old double storey stone building that was once stables with a hay loft, and then a caretaker’s cottage,” said Ms Rushby.

Parent Ryan Fowler, said while moving they uncovered the piano hidden in the back of an old storeroom, as well as historic photo albums of the school in years gone by.

“Pre-school teachers are notorious for hoarding stuff. I know because my wife is a pre-school teacher. Everything has a potential use: box constructions, craft activities or collages, so it’s not surprising that some interesting finds were made after seven decades of collecting,” he said.

Mr Fowler said the most astounding find was a piano that had gone completely unnoticed in the back of a shed.

“No one knows how long it had been there. Another wonderful find was the collection of photos of the school in years gone by. It’s a fascinating window into the past. It’s interesting how some things have changed (preschool teachers no longer wear uniforms complete with “nurse’s caps”) while others – morning rings, construction activities and rest time – remain a part of the traditional school day.”

Mr Fowler said the piano was left to rest as is, while the photos had been filed and will be scanned and uploaded to the school’s website with dates and descriptions.

“Some of this is going to require a bit of research. A link will be provided on the website for past pupils to provide any additional insights that they may have,” he said.