St John's Schoolhouse Museum

St John's Schoolhouse Museum

Please note, while restrictions put in place to respond to COVID-19 are easing, there may be some changes to business-as-usual to keep workers and visitors safe. Please contact the business for the most up to date information, including opening times and social distancing measures.

St John's Schoolhouse was Canberra's first school and school master's residence. It opened in 1845, to provide an elementary education for children from the Campbell estate of Duntroon and surrounding farms. Many family names of former pupils can be seen on gravestones in St John's Churchyard.

In 1907 the School was closed, and the building was eventually scheduled for demolition. Fortunately the significance of the building and its history were recognised, and in 1969 the restored Schoolhouse re-opened as a museum of Canberra's early history and education. In 2020 we were proud to record 50 years as one of Canberra's first museums.

The Schoolhouse enables visitors to imagine the different scene of rural Canberra, before it became the Federal Capital. Sit at an old desk, write on a slate, or play old -fashioned games. See the fascinating early photographs of the Limestone Plains.

Schoolhouse and precinct tours are still welcome by arrangement, for a small fee per head. However, due to the Covid 19 pandemic, tours are currently required to adhere to ACT Health advice, regarding numbers and social distancing.



Wed: 10am-12pm, Weekend: 2pm-4pm


Between $1.00 and $2.00
A gold coin donation on entry is requested. For school and other tours- which must be booked- a small amount is charged per head.
Our Museum is staffed by volunteers, and entry money received assists in the maintenance and upkeep of this historic building.


Disabled access available, contact operator for details


St John's Schoolhouse Museum

45 Constitution Avenue, Reid, Australian Capital Territory, Australia



Family Friendly

Non Smoking Establishment


TripAdvisor traveller rating


Ranked #153 of 223 things to do in Canberra on TripAdvisor

“historic gem”

Reviewed on 21/12/2017

St. john’s is worth a visit for the church alone. add in a great historic schoolhouse and it should be on your to do list.
TIP: time visit with opening times of museum by checking website

Review by


“Did not go into the museum but into the church. Amazing insight into Canberra history.”

Reviewed on 01/03/2017

St. John's Church is amazing. Spiritual and historic. Easily overlooked but a visit provides an insight into many phases of Canberra's history. A most rewarding and stimulating visit. recommended.

Review by


“Canberra's First School”

Reviewed on 09/01/2016

What is now known as St John's Schoolhouse Museum, was Canberra's first school, long before Canberra itself existed.

It was built by the landed-pastoralist, Robert Campbell of Duntroon in 1845 as a...

Review by

David B