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Woodville School of Arts

Updated: Jan 9, 2021

Address: 872 Paterson Rd, Woodville. NSW 2321

872 Paterson Rd, Woodville. NSW 2321
Woodville School of Arts Building

The Town/District:

Woodville, with a population of 600, is a small rural township 174 kilometres north of Sydney, 42 kilometres northwest of Newcastle and 9 kilometres northeast of Maitland. It consists of a few buildings and shares the government areas of Port Stephens and Maitland. The primary land use is agricultural with an increasing growth of housing and small rural residential lots. It is on the Paterson River in the Lower Hunter, NSW. Originally occupied by aboriginals, it was one of the first areas settled by Europeans. Many historical buildings can be found in this area. They include Dunmore House, Stradbroke, All Saints Church (1864), Woodville General Store (1844), which is Australia’s oldest continually running business, and Iona Public School (1918).

Woodville’s oldest farm, Albion Farm established in 1812, is directly opposite the Woodville School of Arts Hall (1876).The first title of Albion Farm was held by David Brown, then in 1824, the Tucker family was granted more land giving them 630 acres for Albion Farm. The School of Arts and its neighbouring buildings, an old slab hut and Iona Public School, now occupy some of this land.

The Redman family has owned Albion Farm since the early 1970s and in the ensuing years has had a close association with both the School of Arts and Iona School.


Entrance to Albion Farm, opposite the Woodville School of Arts which was built on some of the Albion Farm land.

Les Darcy, legendary boxing champion and Woodville’s most famous son was born right next door to the Woodville School of Arts Hall in 1895. Pictured is the old slab hut where Les Darcy was born.



When the Woodville Mutual Improvement Society, formed around 1870, could no longer meet in the old school room of the Church of England church at Dungog, a building was erected in Woodville on land gifted by Mr John Pearse. This new building would be used as a meeting place for the Society. On 29th September, 1876 the Society’s name was changed to the Woodville School of Arts.

Entry from the original Minute Book of the Woodville Mutual Improvement Society: Meeting of 5th September 1876 to elect three members to be Trustees of the Woodville School of Arts. The Society became the Woodville School of Arts on 29th September 1876. Image from the Facebook page of the Woodville School of Arts


The first office bearers were all men: President- J Pearse, Vice-President- J Wynn, Secretary- T Pearse, Librarian- J F Munday, Committee- R F Graham, J McPhie, G Bishop, JF Munday. The first trustees were H Croaker, J Wynn and S Skinner.