Balmattum Schoolhouse

Old Stuff in Balmattum

I love old stuff.

I love the way it gets you as close as can be to touching the past. I love the way it’s had a life of its own and is full of unspoken secrets.

This is one of the reasons why I will immediately pull over if I spot an abandoned house while driving. In fact, I have been known to choose holiday destinations based on the fact that they’re near some fabulous old ruins.

The other reason I love old stuff so much is because it gives me something to photograph.

My parents are fully aware of both my propensity to photograph everything in my immediate vicinity and my love of buildings that are falling down, which is probably why they suggested we should take a detour off the Hume Highway to visit a little town called Balmattum.

Actually, “town” might be over-stating things. “Assortment of houses and farms on a side road” is somewhat more accurate. (And it’s no less adorable for being tiny.)

There were two buildings in particular that we wanted to investigate. First up was this red brick church, which is still used on a regular basis. I love the way it’s sitting in the middle of nowhere – standing out proudly in the landscape.

Balmattum Church

Balmattum Church

I’d seen the church while driving down the highway and always planned to stop one day. However, I hadn’t seen the old school until my mum pointed it out.

Balmattum Schoolhouse Sign

Balmattum schoolhouse gate

Balmattum Schoolhouse

The school opened in 1863 and closed in 1951 and it seems to be in pretty decent condition. If you’re wondering what it looked like earlier in its history, check out this fabulous image. It was clearly all about hair bows and pinafores in those times and I’m a little in love with it all.

Balmattum schoolhouse window

Balmattum schoolhouse chimneys

Balmattum schoolhouse single window

Balmattum Schoolhouse

It’s actually been a while since I’ve wandered off the main road in search of gorgeous old forgotten things and I’ve missed it. Perhaps 2019 should be the year of getting lots of strange grass seeds stuck in my shoes while in pursuit of voiceless ruins.

Seriously, it was a lot of grass seeds.

How do you feel about abandoned buildings? Are you planning to revive an old hobby of yours this year, too? Let me know in the comments below – I’d love to hear from you.

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Dianne 2nd February 2019 - 10:36 am

I can’t believe someone hasn’t bought the school and turned it into a house, or b&b ( or are these not a thing anymore in this age of “air b&b”?). I love old buildings – we went to Kyenton a year or two back and took photos of the old hospital there. And I am eagerly waiting to see what happens with Allans Walk in the middle of Bendigo. My Dad had a shop in the arcade and workroom upstairs in what used to be the restaurant area.
I wrote a history project about it when I was at high school ( which the local paper “borrowed” and published ad their own! It used to be the gold exchange and is being restored, they have uncovered the original leadlight which was hidden by a false ceiling in the 60’s. There is a fb page and photos in the Bendigo Advertiser if you want to read more ( and you can peep through the door from Pall Mall if you are there!)

Katie 2nd February 2019 - 5:17 pm

It would make a fabulous B&B! It’s quite close to a decent-sized town and it’s certainly easy to get onto the freeway from there. At the moment, it seems to be part of a recreation reserve, so I hope they make use of it in some way.

The old Kyneton hospital is gorgeous. I had one of my photos of it printed on canvas but I haven’t found a spot to hang it yet. I love those old bluestone buildings.

Thanks for telling me about Allans Walk in Bendigo – I’ll definitely check out that page. I will never understand how people were OK with hiding beautiful old features like leadlight or pressed metal ceilings – it makes no sense! I do try to visit Bendigo a bit due to the Woollen Mills, so I’ll make a point of peeking into Allans Walk the next time I’m there.

Trey 6th February 2019 - 11:16 pm

Aw, I’ve missed posts like this of yours. Always loved them. And I still tend to think of you whenever I drive by abandoned places. I never seem to find time to visit them myself, though.

Katie 7th February 2019 - 6:08 pm

Thanks! I’ve missed writing posts like this, too. Hopefully there’ll be a lot more of them coming this year.


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