The Hills Grammar School's house of memories

Keeping history: The Hills Grammar School's archivist Marilynne Vietnieks with school items she has catalogued. She salvaged the colourful ceramic tiles made by art students that line the fireplace. Picture: Geoff Jones

Keeping history: The Hills Grammar School's archivist Marilynne Vietnieks with school items she has catalogued. She salvaged the colourful ceramic tiles made by art students that line the fireplace. Picture: Geoff Jones

It's far from Washington, but The Hills Grammar School's "white house" has its own history.

School archivist Marilynne Vietnieks has created a museum in the school's original white timber-clad building, which held the first administrative staff and student lessons in 1983.

Mrs Vietnieks established a television archive at the ABC, where she worked for 24 years, before being invited to build a school archive in 1997 — four years after her eldest son had graduated from the school.

"It was like slipping into an old shoe, because I had that understanding of how the school had started and the people that were involved," she said.

"It is significant to be able to capture that foundation period of a school.

"I have a vault full of interesting stuff."

While student records from the past 31 years are filed away with past technologies like an electric typewriter and overhead projector, the museum displays items that graduates and prospective parents look on with interest at reunions and open days.

There are old school uniforms, newspaper articles from 1982 about the school before it was built, scrapbooks of information on principals past and present, and a nature display of plants and animals that can be found in the bushland around the school.

A photograph of year 2 pupils who will celebrate their 20th reunion this year can also be seen, along with cross-stitched names of last year's graduates who were archive monitors while in primary school.

"They made little herbariums and used to go through photographs and write on the back of them for identification," Mrs Vietnieks said.

"They would go off into the bush and collect, press, preserve and document plants. We've got that in the archive. 

''They're adults now. When they come back to the school they can enjoy those bits and pieces."

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