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JACK MILLS SCHOOL is on the Inland road trip route

The Kotuku Model Bungalow is impossibly cute. The Arnold Valley Rd is a typical rural narrow side road with paddocks, sheep and rural activity. At the end of the road is a tiny replica house built by students in the 1930’s. The property is open to the public although the historic Kotuku Model Bungalow is locked and closed. Peer through the windows and make a donation in the box to support efforts to maintain the heritage site.

The headmaster of Jack’s Mill School, Kotuku district Edward Darracott (appointed 1935) was an advocate for experiential learning. Mr Darracott redesigned the gardens (look carefully at the shape and arrangement of the flower beds) and got his pupils ( 10 -12 years old) to design and build a complete, contemporary, model house of the 1930s. As far as can be ascertained it is the only example in either New Zealand or Australia of this type of learning practice.

Jacks Mills School entrance, New Zealand
Jacks Mills School entrance

The plaque on the former school premises describes the “bungalow was constructed between 1938 and 1940, at 3/4 scale. The pupils sourced three quarter size interior appliances including a custom-made bath tub, a hot water cylinder, stove, kitchen sink and kitchen units.

The house had running water and electricity, and functioned as the home economics classroom until the school was closed in 1955.”

It is quirky, unusual and lots of fun imagining the pupils having the time of their lives. Visit Jacks Mill School miniature bungalow designed, built and furnished entirely by schoolchildren in the 1940s

The school site is managed by Kotuku Heritage Society. Arrange a tour with the society on kotukuheritage@gmail.com Access: Follow SH7 from Greymouth to Stillwater. Turn right onto Arnold Valley Road and continue for 17 km, then turn left onto Blair Road and continue for 12 km to Kotuku.

Jacks Mills School, West Coast, New Zealand
Jacks Mills School
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