Wisanger School

The Wisanger Farmers' Assembly Room, better known today as the Old Wisanger School, was opened in 1884. The Hall was used as a community centre and school for many years. ... The problem of providing education for small numbers of children in scattered locations on Kangaroo Island was partly overcome by a system of part-time and half-time schools during the 1880s. In this system as many as three small schools shared a teacher, who travelled from one to another on a horse or bicycle and often gave lessons in a private home. This was a common rural system and Adelaide officials probably considered it adequate. The islanders probably felt that their children were being given an opportunity which would help prepare them for life in South Australia with as little disadvantage as possible. - Jean Nunn, This Southern Land, pp.171, 175.As the numbers of islanders slowly increased, so did the various public facilities required. Throughout the island's history a total of 23 schools have been established, with only 3 presently in operation. Most of the schools were set up between 1869 and 1903 and then between 1911 and 1919, coinciding with the increase in cereal growing. Although the earliest schools were at Penneshaw and Kingscote, the existing small stone schools were not erected for the Education Department until 1897 and 1910 respectively. The earlier schools were conducted at a variety of places usually provided by the parents, who also built many of the more isolated bush schools on the island. Nineteen of the 23 schools were one teacher bush schools. Wisanger School was typical: built by local farmers as the Wisanger Farmers Assembly Room in 1884, and leased to the Education Department, this simple small building served as a focus of the district’s social life until the 1970s and gave the longest continuous service of any of the schools, until 1945.

A Short History of Kangaroo Island by Susan Marsden, 1991 (downloadable as a Word document)

On Kangaroo Island, 19 km WNW of Kingscote, and named by Henry Partridge (1845 - 1915), who took up land there, after ‘Wisanger Manor’ near Stroud, Gloucestershire, once owned by his forebears. Rodney Cockburn says it was named after the estate of H. Partridge, near Bisley, England, and that its correct name was Wishanger. The Wisanger Post Office opened in December 1882.

Photographs of the property on Kangaroo Island are in the Observer, 20 January 1906, page 27.


1922 A very pleasant evening was spent on Friday last in the Emu Bay School-room when a number of residents of the surrounding districts met to say farewell to Miss Byrth who has been teaching at the Wisanger School for a little over two-and-half years. ... She has been transferred to the Hartley Vale School, and her successor at Wisanger is Miss E. Leahy, formerly of Kingscote and Caltowie.

VALEDICTORY. (1922, September 9). The Kangaroo Island Courier (Kingscote, SA : 1907 - 1951), p. 2. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article191546930

1928 Miss A. Burgess, teacher


1932 Mr. L. Gulney, the Wisanger school teacher, has been transferred to American River.

From The Country. (1932, May 26). Chronicle (Adelaide, SA : 1895 - 1954), p. 14. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article90901641

The Wisanger Hall & School- it's same as the School Hall, Emu Bay , Currently set up exactly like the old days with the desks. Used as a community hall for meetings, dances, and school. Was a going school for many years with other school buildings and a house on the land . Closed down in the early 1950's and the wooden building and house removed. The teacher Harry Harris was transferred to the Kingscote Area School.

- Geoff Chapman 21 Jan 2016See EMU BAY SCHOOL OPENED. (1919, June 21). The Kangaroo Island Courier (Kingscote, SA : 1907 - 1951), p. 2. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article191544787

1933 Mr. F. W. Harvey has been appointed to the Emu Bay School in place of Miss Stuckey.

From the Country. (1933, February 16). Chronicle (Adelaide, SA : 1895 - 1954), p. 14. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article90897124

1939 and 1941 electoral roll: Lydia Gwendolin BAMPTON school teacher, Wisanger

1943 electoral roll: Iris Eva BROWN (b.1906), teacher, Wisanger

1952 The trustees advertised the building for sale:

Advertising. (1952, February 9). The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1931 - 1954), p. 20. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article47388667