A rumour of lost artwork at Warrnambool College has lead to the discovery of two pieces missing for 15 years.
Art teacher Anthea Rafferty uncovered the paintings under one of the school building.
"At the end of 2018, I was collating the school art collection and I had heard about these Noela Stratford paintings that were rumoured to have been thrown out," Ms Rafferty said.
"One of the school's IT staff said there was a collection of paintings under the art building and I was pleasantly surprised to find two of the three Stratford artworks."
The painting depicting scenes from the Flinders Ranges were originally purchased in 1986 and spent many years on display. They were stored when the school merged with North Warrnambool Technical School, and subsequently forgotten, until they were discovered last year.
Part of a triptych, Ms Rafferty said the paintings were purchased while Stratford was artist-in-residence at Warrnambool College. The third painting in the series is still missing, and is presumed to have been thrown away.
"Noela Stratford is a published artist, the Warrnambool Art Gallery has some of her pieces, and her work has been purchased by other galleries around Australia," she said.
The artworks were in poor condition when they were retrieved from their hiding place, with cracking in the oil painting and water damage, but an unlikely connection led to Noela Stratford offering to repair her work.
"I took the paintings into my year 10 class and a student put his hand up and said 'my grandmother is the artist who painted those works'," Ms Rafferty said.
Budding painter and photographer Finn Stratford, 15, had no idea that his grandmother's artworks were owned by the school.
"I am really inspired by my nanna, she has been really amazing with all of her work and very successful in her career," Finn said.
"I am going to be very proud to see her work up at school, she has done a great job painting and restoring them."
Three other paintings were recovered, one by former vice principal Rohan Keert, one by artist Renee Broders, and one unidentified artist's work.
All paintings will be recorded in a new register and displayed in the school library.
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