UP FOR GRABS: Myra James hopes the new owners love the School House as much as she has for the past 15 years.
UP FOR GRABS: Myra James hopes the new owners love the School House as much as she has for the past 15 years.

Old School House makes the grade

YOU know your house has charm when people ask to look through your "museum" when you're out watering the garden.

For Myra and Frank James, it has happened more than once.

"It's just got something about it," Mrs James said.

Being the oldest residential property in Maclean, The School House demands a pedestal of its own.

The beauty that is 78 River St was built in 1878 as the headmaster's residence for the Maclean District Rural School.

Charles Willis, his wife and eight children lived at the house while the school was in operation.

"The primary school was next door (near the Witzig Art Gallery) and the infant school was on the riverfront," Mrs James said.

"At that stage most of the kids came to school via the river, on boats or cane barges, because there was no River St or any of the roads."

After the school closed, the headmaster's residence was divided in two.

"In 1926 extensions were done to add another section on the back and it was made into three one-bedroom units," Mrs James said.

The James' bought the property off a builder in 1999.

"I was up visiting my son at Cowper, we were living at Warnervale on the Central Coast, and we went for a picnic at Maclean," she said.

"On the back page of The Daily Examiner was a lovely house for sale and Frank and I had always talked about starting up a bed and breakfast.

"So I called Frank, who was still in Warnervale, and told him I had bought a house in Maclean."

A few weeks later, Mr James had a job transfer from the TAFE in Warnervale to the Maclean Campus.

"I think I fell for Maclean first because I was born in Scotland," Mrs James said.

"But then I saw this place and I just knew I had to have it."

The School House was used as a bed and breakfast from 2004-2007, with a main cottage and two conjoining units.

The James' still occupy the central unit and have tenants in the others, but as the rest of the country beckons, the James' are selling up to head around the country in a campervan.

The 1158sq m property will go to auction on May 9 at 11am.

To inspect the property, phone Darren Billett from Elders Real Estate on 0423 642 770.

Inspections are every Saturday from 10-10.30am.



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