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The school that moved: Wildbore geocache no. 1

In 1977, an entire school house moved from its existing location on a country road in the shadow of the Ruahine Range in the Manawatu to the main street of Palmerston North City, nearly 30 kilometres away. To be fair, it was just a one-room school house, one of just over 40 square metres. The school was built in 1902, to take pupils within a 10-mile radius, who travelled to school by foot or pony. When it opened, it had a roll of 20, and by 1907, the number had increased to 32. Many of the early teachers were young and inexperienced. One teacher was only 16 years old, just two years older than the oldest pupil. As transport improved and numbers of children in the area declined, the roll dwindled and had reached single figures by the 1970s.

In 1972, it was closed, when it was almagamated with Komako School on the Awahou North School site as Awahou School (which is still operating today with a roll of 40-plus students). In 1977, the school house was moved to the Manawatu Museum location as a typical example of one-room country school, where it remains today.

It has a high stud and steep roof, a fireplace, a porch in which children hung their coats, and windows so high that inattentive children could not gaze out. The classroom was tiered with the primer children sitting at the front. Behind the school there were outbuildings and a shelter shed in which the children could eat their lunch and play in wet weather. The horse paddock occupied one side of the grounds (and still does!)

Today the site is marked only by a World War One memorial, where the community holds Anzac commerations most years.

There is a geocache hidden near this site, one of a series celebrating the life and photography of Charles E. Wildbore.

Never tried geocaching? You can join for free at – it is a great way to spend some time on a weekend, with kids or without! To find the coordinates and other information about this geocache on the site, click on “Filter” and search for “Wildbore 1”.

Wildbore: A photographic legacy (Totara Press) will be available in July 2018.

Sources: New Zealand Museums website and Awahou South School information sheet, Palmerston North Archives.

This post was originally published on envirohistory NZ

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