In 2001, a new exterior filming location debuted for Summer Bay High School, the third since the show’s inception.
Unlike the show’s first and second Summer Bay High exteriors, which were a hospital and hotel respectively, this incarnation utilised an actual former high school, just down the road from the previous locations in the Northern Sydney suburb of Macquarie Park.
The school originally opened as North Ryde High School in 1962—and was renamed to Peter Board High School in 1985—before being labelled as surplus to requirement by the Labor government and closed in 1998, standing empty for a number of years.
Home and Away mainly used the former language and arts block, G Block, on the eastern side of the complex for its Summer Bay High scenes (far right on the below image), with the brutalist concrete stairwells and walkways becoming quite memorable amongst viewers.
Its first appearance on the show actually came by way of interior scenes filmed in the old school hall (top right), utilised for Summer Bay High’s fundraiser for the drop-in centre in Episode 2984 (airing on 14th February 2001).
The variety night was perhaps most memorable for Dani Sutherland’s somewhat unexpected success at singing, and Hamish ‘Woody’ Woodford’s unsettling poetry recital—a self-penned poem named Black Dog which caused unintended hilarity amongst students. Other appearances of the hall interior include Donald Fisher’s farewell in 2003, the 1950’s themed school dance in the same year, and the Noah Lawson tribute concert in 2004.
The exterior of the school appeared for the first time the following week, in Episode 2986, when a vengeful Woody held Sally Fletcher’s class hostage using a replica gun.
The school and grounds continued to be used throughout the mid 2000s, for both exteriors and the occasional interior scenes within the hall and disused classrooms (in addition to the studio sets). In 2007, the news came that the buildings were to finally be demolised.
It’s final on-screen appearance came in Episode 4572, airing on 12th February 2008 and almost seven years to the day since its debut. The scene saw Sally give an outdoor assembly to welcome the students back for a new school year, announce Martin Bartlett’s promotion to vice-principal, and allow Constable Jack Holden to talk to the students about the recently-escaped Johnny Cooper.
Later that year, Summer Bay High headed the 1km back down Wicks Road to its original filming location at Macquarie Hospital.
Ten years after its closure, Peter Board High School was demolished between May-July 2008, and the site sold for development.
Nearly another decade passed—with the site going through several owners and the plot remaining empty—until it was announced in late 2017 that the NSW government had re-purchased the land, with the intent on building a brand new high school.
Summer Bay High (1988-96, 2000, 2008-09)
Summer Bay High (1996-2001)