The Transformation of South Campus

There’s been a few changes around us on South Campus lately, with the de-construction of some of the older buildings on the campus. Those of you that haven’t visited us for a while are in for a bit of a shock on your arrival.

For many years now, the buildings have looked very sad and dilapidated. Some of them were originally installed on this site for the RAAF hospital in 1944; others were added not long after the beginning of the Wagga Wagga Teachers’ College in 1947. It’s highly unlikely there was ever any intention for them to last 70 years and, believe me, it showed.

However, back in the heyday of the Teachers’ College, the campus grounds were the pride of Wagga Wagga with gorgeous rose gardens, band rotunda, statues, and even a pleasance – all providing a lovely framework to the, frankly, fairly ordinary wooden buildings dotted throughout the campus.

We thought we’d take a look back this week at what the campus looked like in the 1950s and 1960s. The following photographs were all taken from the Wagga Wagga Teachers’ College collection (SA1).

The Wagga Wagga Teachers' College from the air in 1953.
The Wagga Wagga Teachers’ College from the air in 1953. The Principal’s residence, which was recently removed, is in the top left corner.
The College Auditorium - While the auditorium was not a RAAF building, it was on the College very early on and was used for College assemblies, graduation ceremonies and all sorts of performances by the students.
While the auditorium was not an original RAAF Hospital building, it was installed on the site very early on in the College’s history and was used for student assemblies, graduation ceremonies and all sorts of performances by the students up until relatively recently.
View of the College gardens, sundial and auditorium.
The College was very proud of its rose gardens. Here, in 1955, there are labels telling us they had planted Talisman, Mirandy, and Crimson Glory.
The entrance to the Wagga Teachers' College in 1953
This was the entrance to the College in 1953. The photographer is standing in front of the office block, not far from where the Archives is now located.  The gates have changed, and the Principal’s residence was recently removed.
The trellised walkway from the College Gates is still with us, in a way, with a few climbing roses still grimly hanging on to life. Here, the walkway is made of wood. At some point between 1953 and 1971, it was rebuilt out of steel poles and wires.
However, the trellised walkway is still with us, in a way, with a few climbing roses still grimly hanging on to life. Here, the walkway is made of wood; at some point between 1953 and 1971, it was rebuilt out of steel poles and wires.
The view along College Avenue (Anne's Road).
This was the view outside the gates to the College in 1953. Originally, this potential quagmire was called Anne’s Road, but it was changed to College Avenue in 1949. At the end of the road is the Show Ground and you can see the campus fence was lined with standard roses (it’s now lined with gum trees).
F Block in its prime.
Up until a couple of months ago, this building was the first building you could see when arriving through the College gates. We call it “F Block”, the name it was given in the 1970s. It has been on this site since the RAAF Hospital days when it was the Outpatients Department Hut.
View of the grounds from the roof of one of the central buildings.
Another building that was here since the Hospital but was recently removed is the one seen here on the left (located near the bus stop). Our records show it was originally the NCOs’ Sleeping Hut and when the Teachers’ College took over it may have been the matron’s quarters, then later the office of the Master of College Halls for RCAE.
The statue affectionately known as Myrtle, standing outside the Administration Office.
Myrtle is a blog post all on her own, but suffice to say she is still gracing the grounds of Charles Sturt University, just off the path between Tabbita Walk and Carpark P7.
The Principal's Residence, located on the corner of Charleville Road and College Avenue.
This was the Principal’s Residence, located at the entrance to the campus off College Avenue. One wonders how many students found themselves trying to sneak back to College but were spotted through those windows!
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