Photo courtesy of Channel Nine.
Photo courtesy of Channel Nine.

Scots' classroom on TV

A FORMER Scots PGC College building sold in 2002 and relocated to Byron Bay is the setting of the latest Channel Nine television reality show.

The WR Black building, which was once located on the northern side of Oxenham Street, is now the home of eight newlywed couples vying for the title of Australia's Perfect Couple.

The show, which premiered last Wednesday boasts the WRB building - since reinvented as Bandongrove - as the show's backdrop.

It is the second time the historic classroom has made headlines since leaving the Rose City.

Last year the building, which was purchased and renovated by Byron Bay developer Andrew More, won Best Australian Home in the Asia Pacific Property Awards.

Now the home, which was renovated for a princely $7.5 million, has been seconded by Channel Nine for a reality show which offers the winning couple $250,000 in prize money.

Today it is a far cry from the draughty, timber building which was originally commissioned in by WR Black in 1922 as a “substantial” classroom complex.

In its most recent life it was the home economics, economics, art and girls locker room on the northern side of Oxenham Street.

Retired teacher John Simpson, who spent more than 30 years working in WRB, was sentimental about its new life.

“I am delighted it's been renovated and is still in use, it was a beautiful, old building,” Mr Simpson said.

That said he was not sorry to see it finally graduated from life as a classroom.

“It was cold in winter and hot in summer; female teachers lost high heels to the gaps in the floorboards,” he recalled.

“We used to climb up through the manhole on freezing days and cover open grills in the ceiling with plastic to try and keep warm.

“And some days were so cold inside it was a warmer to teach students outside.”

Yet he wonders whether the decades of boys' signatures once etched on ceiling beams of the old building survived the renovation.

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