Areas and Places

Historic old school for sale in Wellington

A landmark building in the Boland town of Wellington has come onto the market exclusively through Pam Golding Properties (PGP), priced at R5 million. The stately building, rich in historic value, occupies spacious grounds of over 11 000sqm in Schwartz Street – a central location close to the historic town centre and to all amenities. Its facilities have previously been used as a school, a hostel and a church.

PGP agents Erika Odendaal and Lynette Kannemeyer say the building’s history is inextricably linked with the development of the town’s rich educational heritage. “The history of schooling in Wellington dates back to the first tiny private school established by a local farmer in the 1840’s,” they say. “Since then, the town has developed a fine tradition of academic excellence and is today home to many centres of learning, from primary and secondary schools to numerous tertiary institutions. But the size and scope of the facilities on offer today belies the huge effort that was required to establish the first public schools in the late 1800’s. This building in Schwartz Street stands as an historic reminder of those earlier communities’ determination to ensure that the town’s boys and girls received a sound education.”

The development of Wellington’s schools was profoundly influenced by several acclaimed missionaries and educationalists, most notably the Scotsmen Andrew Murray and Robert MacCrone. They helped drive fund-raising efforts to erect proper school buildings, hostel facilities and sports-fields. Early buildings in Malherbe Street and on the site of today’s town hall were repeatedly enlarged over the years to accommodate growing pupil bodies, but by 1920 it was clear that additional premises were required. The School Board pledged the major capital required, and building began on the Schwartz Street property later that decade. The new school was inaugurated in January 1927, with the provincial council member Dan Retief bestowing the gift of a fountain which still stands in the central courtyard today.

By the late 1940’s the school had over 300 pupils, and additional land was purchased from a neighbouring farm. The building would remain in use as a primary school for another 30 years, witnessing during this time the amalgamation of the previously separate boys’ and girls’ schools. It came to the end of its time as a primary school in 1970, when pupils were moved to the newly built Huguenot Primary School in General Hertzog Boulevard.

Since then, the building has remained in use by various educational and training institutions, and it remains zoned for educational purposes. PGP’s area manager for Wellington, Surina du Toit, says it currently attracts rental income of R70 000 per month from its existing tenants, and could continue to do so under new ownership. “However it would also be an ideal facility in which to establish a new school, church, crèche or training facility of some kind,” she adds. “Not only does it have ample grounds and parking space, but the facilities include numerous large classrooms, a substantial hall and accommodation facilities. Not to mention the appeal of its immense character, with gracious façade, wraparound balconies, wooden floors and high ceilings.”