102-year-old former pupils reunite with old school
WHEN you've just renovated a local historical school building, what better way to get feedback than ask two 102-year-old former pupils for their opinion.
Deborah and Herman Claassens moved to the Grafton region in 2014 when they were able to buy the former Carrs Creek Public School teachers residence and school building.
It was a school building from 1882 to 1964 and has had several owners since it left government hands.
Mrs Claassens said they had renovated the school building to turn it into short-stay accommodation, while retaining many of the elements of the old school.
"When we were finished I thought it totally appropriate to invite two of the school's oldest pupils over for morning tea," she said.
The two people the Claassens invited were Irene Crispin and Ken Weekes, both aged 102, who would have enrolled at the school soon after the end of World War One.
"Ken and Irene were amazing," Mrs Claassens said. "They were both looking around at the building, trying to remember where things were and what used to be where.
"They were both so sharp and had so many memories of the school," Mrs Claassens said.
Mrs Claassens said she had always wanted to own a historic building, but had not been able to find the right one.
"They tend to get built around, the price is wrong or there's something wrong with the building," she said.
The Carrs Creek School site hit the Claassens' sweet spot and they moved here in 2014.
Mrs Claassens said local historian Nola Mackey's book, the Life and Times of the Carrs Creek Area was a valuable resource for her.
"It was full of information about the history of the school and what happened to it over the years," she said.
"Also a lot of local people who used to go to the school have told me things about it."
Mrs Claassens said the school building was still a local landmark.
"Just a few weeks ago a group of kids from Grafton Public School was here with a teacher learning about how much responsibility children used to have when they were school age," she said.