As well as a dynamic and edgy dining and retail hot spot with a light-industrial past, Braddon (formerly known as ‘Neighbourhood No. 1’ by local town planners) is home to one of Canberra’s oldest schools. Ainslie School, built in 1927 on Donaldson Street, was surrounded by sheep paddocks and the new capital’s second school (after Telopea Park). The school was also the first local building to be opened by Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon. Stanley Bruce.

The first school in Australia to have a planned library, lecture and needlework room, Ainslie School featured eight classrooms designed to accommodate 50 students each, a very large kindergarten room for 100 students and spacious cloakrooms, playgrounds and staff room, and was heated by steam. The building also featured the latest method of ventilation.

After the opening of the larger adjacent primary school building in 1938 (pictured), Ainslie School served as the local infants’ school before closing as a school in 1979. In 1980, it was occupied by Questacon and later by the School Without Walls. Today, the building and its original, internal Art Deco-style fittings and street plantings are listed on the ACT Heritage Register as architecturally significant and provide a home to the Ainslie Arts Centre.

(Wondering why Ainslie School isn’t called Braddon School? That’s because originally Braddon was part of Ainslie, which in Canberra’s early days was a much bigger suburb.)

For more information, visit Ainslie School

 

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