Wash troughs, lavatories and WCs

Posted on in North Ryde PS History

Student wash trough

Some of our young visitors are interested in ‘the facilities’ of North Ryde PS in the very early school days. The plans of the 1877 schoolroom show that the ‘lavatory’ was located along the closed end of the open veranda (which now faces the driveway). Lavatories in those days were wash areas whereas the toilet was called the WC, short for Water Closet. The original lavatory was a timber wash trough attached to the wall. Marks on the wall show that it was slightly higher than the old wash trough on display there today. There was no running water so water was collected from the ship’s tank in enamel basins that fitted neatly into the trough.

As for the location of the WC, it was a ‘long drop’ so it was located as far away from the schoolroom as possible!