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Lauder Railway School 1929 CS Museum.jpg


1906 - 1986

Lauder Railway Hotel, c1914

AMN.26 Central Stories Art Gallery and Museum

In a Class of Their Own

In a Class of Their Own

A month after the opening of the railway station, the local hotelier, Dan Donnelly wrote to the Otago Education Board advising of the need for establishing a school in Lauder.


The railway through Lauder created new opportunities for business as well as attracting people and families to the area.


Early in 1905, the Otago Education Board agreed to purchase two acres of land opposite the railway station and a one room school was built, officially opening on 5 March, 1906. The original building was later updated and altered to provide modern windows, a toilet block to provide indoor plumbing and a store room for teaching supplies.


Lauder Railway School opened with 17 children on the roll and grew to 27 by the end of the first year. The first teacher was Miss Catherine Clapperton.

Lauder Railway School 1914 CS Museum.jpg

Lauder Railway School Children, 1914, 97/155, Central Stories Art Gallery & Museum

Lauder Railway School - Cert of Compente

The Depression Years saw a large increase of pupils, as families moved into the community to work on the Public Works Scheme for building irrigation projects. Tents appeared around the town and the school roll increased to around 45 pupils. Due to the increasing class size, the infant classes were moved across to the supper room at the Lauder Hall.

Many children in the surrounding areas travelled great distances to attend the school, walking, biking or by carriage. The Lauder Railway School closed in 1986 with a falling roll of only 4 pupils.

“It was four miles of gravel roads and we hated it. Going there was okay but coming home, once you turned up Drybread Road, it was straight into the north wester out of Thomsons Gorge blowing.”


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Jim Clouston

(Lauder local)

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