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Tradies working at a primary school make an incredible discovery

by Robyn Dorron (2020-08-30)

Artwork believed to be more than a century old has been found hidden behind a school blackboard.

The giant mural was discovered during renovations at Kew Primary School in Melbourne's inner east.

Tradesmen were fixing water damage at the prep building when they removed a new blackboard and tv wall mounting storage cupboards to find a chipboard.

The timber was secretly hiding a nine-metre wide blackboard decorated with colourful and detailed chalk drawings, which could have been created before 1911. 

Kew Primary School principal Pete DeWacht stands in front of the old blackboard with drawings that might date back a century

 'First, we saw a splash of yellow. Then a couple of animals, holding up the crest, the Australian crest, and it felt as though we'd danced back into time,' Principal Peter deWacht told The artwork is faded in some sections but clearly display drawings of a young, blonde girl holding yellow flowers and flora and fauna including birds. 

The word 'Arctic' and some arithmetic are also visible.  Another drawing is of the Australian coat of arms, which showed an emu with its legs planted to the ground, and the British empire. The position of the emu's legs provides a rough age of the art as before 1911, the coat of arms showed the emu's legs angled upwards.  The Australian coat of arms showing an emu with its legs planted to the ground was on the nine-meter long blackboard RELATED ARTICLES

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The young, blonde girl holding yellow flowers was also part of the mural which has faded in some areasThe classroom where the chipboard was found was built in 1910, which suggests these drawings could be more than 100 years old. Kew Primary School business manager Carmel Buxton believes the mural was deliberately hidden. 'They decided to leave us a present so that one day the right people would come to the school as custodians,' she said. The school will allow students to work with artists to restore the murals to their original state and determine when they were created and by who. Once the murals are restored, they will be sealed and a digital whiteboard overlay will be placed over them. When the whiteboard is activated, the murals will be hidden and when it is switched off, the original blackboard will be visible. Principal deWacht said this will allow the school to continue building a rich history while honouring the past.  

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