Quambi House, formerly known as Lady Parry's School, is of graceful classic Georgian design. Believed to have been completed in the 1840’s, it housed the schoolmaster and some classes.
Records on buildings at Stroud were very vague before 1850. Most records have not survived and what is known about Quambi is contained in Sir W. E. Parry's diaries and despatches sent to London.
The initial school, completed in 1831 was of slab construction.
Parry records in his diary:
Monday, 17th January 1831: "I was glad to see our new School House had made good progress at Stroud. It has been done by the men in their Extra-Hours, and will not cost the company twenty pounds in all - it will accommodate above 40 children very well."
Tuesday, 15th March 1831: "At 7am I set off in the boat for Booral, accompanied by Lady Parry... and whom I much wished to make acquainted with the people there and at Stroud, and be present when the new School-house is opened."
Wednesday, 16th March:"We paid visits to the indented servants....and to the School, which is very well built, and bids fair, I trust, to be a real advantage to the children there. Thomas Simes, the Constable and Schoolmaster, is just becoming Free and wishes to remain in these situations, at a salary of $16 per annum... The number of children on the list for receiving instruction is 17.
Pupils included the part-Aboriginal children of AACo employees - the first Worimi people to be educated in the European way.
Despatches in 1831 mention the 'neat slab School-room ' costing 20 pounds 'which also answers the purpose of a convenient place for the performance of Divine Worship'. A school masters residence costing 41 pounds has been completed (July 1831).
Mr Simes resigned in 1838 and was replaced by William Martin, Parish Clerk and Schoolmaster at Maitland. In 1840 the AACo Chaplain the Rev'd William Cowper was mentioned as 'overlooking' the school.'
Despatches of January 1850 describe a building which is no doubt the present day Quambi. The Company surveyor, Mr Ralfe wrote: 'in rather a capacious two storied house' Domine Sampson had 'more room than he knows what to do with it' (Surveyor Ralfe had come back to NSW in charge of 'colonists' and thought he should have the best house in Stroud.)
In May 1856 the school-house and dwelling attached was valued at 450 pounds. It is described as having 2 storeys, 6 rooms, veranda, lobby, kitchen and pantry in very good repair. Later that same year despatches report that Stroud Day School had 83 children on the roll. Clearly overcrowding was a problem.
To solve the overcrowding, plans were made to build a new school building which currently serves as St. John's Parish Hall.
After the introduction of public education (1884), Quambi remained a Parish School until 1900. Its new residents, the Callow Family, bestowed the name Quambi House, which means place of rest.. Now owned by Great Lakes Council, Quambi houses a museum run by the Stroud and District Historical Society.
Quambi Front Portico
Quambi before restoration in 1880's