Book Direct with the Owner at St John's Schoolhouse Museum with Victoria Tourism in Canberra City, for all your Attraction and travel needs.
Visit St John's Schoolhouse, Canberra's first school and school master's residence. It opened in 1845, to provide an elementary education for workers’ children from the Campbell Family estate of “Duntroon”, as well as surrounding farms. Many of the family names of these pioneers are to be found in the Church graveyard. In 1969 the Schoolhouse re- opened as a museum of early district education. It displays many nineteenth and early twentieth-century photographs relating to Canberra's schools, churches, rural history and the beginnings of our city.
The little Anglican Church of St John the Baptist, standing on the Limestone Plains since 1845, was a notable district landmark when Canberra was named as the site for the Federal Capital in 1913. After the outbreak of the Great War in 1914, the small church and its surrounding graveyard came to provide a much needed focus for a community’s grief. The Schoolhouse Museum is currently featuring displays relating to World War I. The only soldier whose body was returned to Australia during the Great War was the first commandant of the Royal Military College, Duntroon, Major-General Sir William Throsby Bridges, who died of wounds at Gallipoli. He was buried from St John’s Church, which bears an impressive memorial plaque to Bridges on its northern wall. Out in the graveyard is a much simpler memorial to a young private who died on the Western Front- the name of W. W. B. (Bruce) Reid is recorded on his sister’s newly placed gravestone- they died a month apart, in the year of 1917. These and other stories illustrate the contribution of this area to the Great War.
The Church is open daily. Visitors are most welcome, unless a service is in progress.
The Schoolhouse Museum opens on Wednesdays from 10am-12, and on weekend afternoons from 2-4pm. (During the ACT Heritage Festival in April opening hours are extended.) A gold coin donation is appreciated.
Group excursions can be arranged of the Schoolhouse and Church, and currently, we are offering a special excursion outlining the role of St John’s Parish in the Great War.
School bookings are also welcome. A modest charge per head applies for excursions
Enquiries can be made on 0262496839. Leave a message if the phone is unattended.
Captions for supplied photos
1. One of a pair of windows assembled from stained glass shards gathered from shattered churches on the Somme. (Church of St John the Baptist, Canberra)
2. A grave in St John’s Churchyard, also recording the name of a young soldier from the district, W.W.B. Reid, who was killed on the Western Front.
3. A brass plaque commemorating Major-General W.T. Bridges, first Commandant of the RMC, who died of wounds at Gallipoli. The only soldier whose body was returned to Australia at the time of the Great War.
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