Other formats

    TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Wellington Provincial District]

Secondary Schools

Secondary Schools.

The Wellington College, from its superior age and consequently superior attainments, may fairly claim the premier position among the schools of Wellington. It cannot be said to have “sprung” into existence, for though the grant was made in 1853, it was not until 1867 that any attempt at imparting instruction was made. In that year the Rev. H. E. Tuckey, B.A., and Mr. W. S. Hamilton opened the “Wellington Grammar School” in a small building in Woodward Street, and, as this school soon became popular, “the College Trustees formulated a plan by which they would assume control over it, and found an institution in terms of the original grant. To give effect to their decision the title of the school was altered, and henceforth became the “Wellington College and Grammar School.” A removal was made to “one of the old barrack rooms on the Thorndon Reserve,” and in the beginning of 1869 new and more convenient buildings were erected in Clifton Terrace. By this time the attendance began to increase rapidly, and the Rev. T. A. Bowden, B.A., the provincial school inspector, accepted the headmastership, the founders of the school remaining as classical and mathematical masters respectively. Until 1872 the college was managed by trustees; but that year an Act was passed by which the “Governors of Wellington College” became a corporate body; and though many changes have of necessity occurred in the personnel, the Board still exists, and has, since 1872, controlled and managed the affairs of the College. In 1874 the first portion of the present building was erected, the money in the hands of the governors being augmented by a grant from the Provincial Government, and a sum of about £1500 which was collected from private subscribers. Thus the splendid grounds of the College were at last occupied, and with such satisfactory results that even this greatly increased accommodation had to be largely added to in 1883. Since then only minor additions have been made. In 1887 a new workshop was put up, in which instruction in iron and wood work is given to those who wish to acquire a measure of technical education, in addition to the usual scholastic course. The Wellington College has been helped very liberally by a few of the wealthier citizens; but the institution has hardly been taken to the bosoms of the people as it might have been. The late Mr. Levin gave £20 per annum for many years; and Mr. Walter Turnbull in 1874 gave £1000 to the governors as an endowment for scholarships and prizes. Two gentlemen, Messrs. G. Moore and W. B. Rhodes have remembered the College in their wills, each of these gentlemen having left the sum of £500 as a scholarship endowment. In both cases the money has been invested at seven percent. interest, thereby creating a scholarship fund in each case of £35 per annum. In view of the number of wealthy men whose boys attend the College, it is surprising page 365
Wellington College

Wellington College

that the example of Messrs. Turnbull, Moore, Rhodes and Levin does not raise a spirit of emulation, the results of which would be most beneficial to the College. The “Old Boys” have certainly done a good deal to show their appreciation of the “happy times” and useful knowledge had and gained during their school days. In 1891 they published the “Wellington College Old Boys Record,” a handy clothbound book of some fifty pages giving a history of the College, a list of the “Old Boys,” and an interesting collection of information regarding the Board of Governors, masters and scholars, with grateful references to those who have rendered the College monetary and other assistance. In the list of the “Old Boys” appear the names of many of Wellington's prominent men, lawyers, doctors, bankers, merchants, etc. During the life of the College many changes have occurred in the list of masters—too many by a great deal; but latterly there has been an improvement in this respect. The head master, Mr. J. P. Firth, is described by the “Old Boys” as “undoubtedly the most popular master the College ever had.” Mr. Firth was at Canterbury College when this was said, but since then he has returned as headmaster; and there is abundant proof that his popularity has not waned in the least degree. The writer goes on to say:—“The name of Mr. J. P. Firth will ever be remembered with pride by all “Old Boys” who were fortunate enough to be associated with him. A strict, but impartial and capable master, his teaching was a source of terror to the boy who shirked his work. Although a strict disciplinarian, he was ever ready to lend a helping hand to anyone in difficulties. An eager enthusiast in all sports, a very prince of athletes himself, he took the greatest trouble to instil into the minds of the boys that healthy love of outdoor sports which is so essential to a youth of physical training. The most important feature in all his work, however, was his earnest endeavour to preserve a high moral bearing in all the actions of his boys—an endeavour in which he was eminently successful.” With the return of a master who was remembered with so much affection and admiration for over five years after his connection with the College had ceased, is it any surprise that under his control and guidance the Wellington College has of late years increased greatly in popularity and efficiency. At the time of writing the number of pupils in attendance is 198, of whom forty are boarders. Everything seems to be done to make the College as attractive as possible. The studies are evidently made agreeable and interesting; and that the boys are well taught may be inferred from the success which Wellington College boys have scored in all quarters. In the three page 366 years ending 1894, one University Scholarship was gained, thirty-nine boys matriculated, three passed the junior University Scholarship Examination with credit, one passed the Medical Preliminary Examination, one passed the Senior Civil Service Examination, and thirteen passed the Junior Civil Service Examination—truly a record to be proud of. Nor is the influence of the masters confined to the school hours. It is exerted with most beneficial results in the play-grounds and upon the athletic grounds of the city. There can be little idle time for the boys, for games for all seasons are vigorously prosecuted—cricket, football, tennis, shooting, drilling, and athletics of all kinds, with concerts and entertainments for occasional evenings. All who are interested in the education and training of boys, as everyone should be—are recommended to subscribe to the Wellingtonian—a periodical issued by the boys. The Wellingtonian is entering upon its fifth volume. The cost is three shillings per annum; and the information interesting and amusing, to be gathered from its pages, is, to say the least of it, very cheap at the price. In every way the Wellington College is deserving of the highest commendation. The fees are exceedingly reasonable, considering the many advantages. Tuition only is £13 4s. per annum for the Upper School, and £12 12s. for the Lower. Full boarders pay in addition forty guineas per year, which includes washing; weekly boarders, thirty guineas; and day boarders, ten guineas. Mr. and Mrs. Firth do all in their power to make the College as like a comfortable and well-ordered home as such an institution can possibly be. The dormitories are lofty and well ventilated, and the boarders are under the immediate supervision of the principal and his wife. The moral training of the pupils is strictly attended to, and due attention is paid to the performance by the boarders of their religious duties. The term days are the 1st of February, the 1st of June and the 16th of September. Latin, mathematics, history, geography, French, physics, chemistry, book-keeping, drawing, shorthand, music and carpentry are among the subjects taught, the three last mentioned being extras. The roll of masters includes, Mr. J. P. Firth, B.A., headmaster; and Messrs. A. Heine, B.A., J. Bee, M.A., W. F. Ward, M.A., A. S. Cocks, B.A., and A. H. E. Wall, assistant masters, besides, of course, a special French master. Of the appearance of the College building, the accompanying picture will give a fair idea. It remains only to be said that all the apartments are large, lofty and well lighted, and that the grounds are among the finest in New Zealand. The personnel of the Board of Governors controlling the Wellington College and Girls' High School is identical with that of the Education Board.

Mr. J. P. Firth, the Principal, was educated at Nelson College, taking his B.A. degree in 1888 at Canterbury College. His first appointment was that of assistant master at the institution where he received his education. There he stayed for six years, at the end of which time he accepted a position at Wellington College. After five years in the Empire City, Mr. Firth was appointed one of the masters of Christ's College, Christchurch, and in 1892, at the end of five-and-a-half years, he returned to take up his present position as head master of the Wellington College. Wellington is very proud of its college, and particularly so of its principal, whose popularity, not only with the boys, but with all classes of the community is proverbial. In athletics, especially cricket and football, Mr. Firth has reason to be proud of the work he has accomplished. He also takes a great interest in outdoor sports generally. He is the favourite referee in football matches, his thorough knowledge of the game, quick eye, and exemplary integrity precluding all question as to the accuraev of his rulings. He is a Mr. J. P. Firth man of splendid physique, which is no doubt due, to a great extent, to the variety of outdoor exercises and athletic pursuits in which he has indulged from his boyhood. He is no less than six feet five-and-a-half inches in height, and is proportionately built, while his carriage is perfect. In 1889, Mr. Firth married Miss Jessie McRae, daughter of Mr. Nehemiah McRae of Weld's Hill, Marlborough. Mr. and Mrs. Firth have done much to make the College the pleasant home it is for the boarders, and it must indeed be gratifying to them to note the great improvement, not only in scholastic attainment, but ni physical and social development, of their charges.

The Wellington Girls' High School is situated in Pipitea and Moturoa Streets. It is an imposing building, and occupies a splendid site of little less than three acres of land, having extensive lawns and playgrounds. The Girls' High School was originally opened in January, 1883, in a five-roomed cottage in Abel Smith Street. The popularity of the institution was so great, and the increase in the number of pupils so rapid, that the school very soon became terribly overcrowded; but as it was not possible at that time to provide the building that was required, it was necessary to put up with the inconvenience for about five years. Sir Robert Stout then inspected this school, and was much concerned at the insufficient accommodation, and after some hard work, succeeded in getting the present site. The handsome structure with which Wellingtonians are so familiar, was erected in the year 1887, and the school was immediately transferred to the new premises, possession being taken in September. The school contains twenty-one rooms, which are lofty and well-ventilated. There are four wide corridors, surrounding a large hall, in which dances and drill classes are held, and which is allowed to be used as a playroom in wet weather. The school also has a room equipped with gymnastic apparatus. A splendid staircase page 367
The Girls' High School, Wellington.

The Girls' High School, Wellington.

connects the two stories, and from the upstair windows magnificent views of harbour and city are obtainable. There are about one hundred and fifty girls attending this school. A good many of them come from the country, and all parts of the Colony, but there is at present no regular boarding establishment in connection with the school. The necessity of erecting a suitable building for the reception of those pupils whose homes are elsewhere, is, however, under the consideration of the Board of Governors. The course of instruction includes English Language and Literature, Grammar, Composition, Modern Languages and Literature, History, Physical and Natural Science, Latin, Arithmetic, Euclid, Algebra, Trigonometry, Writing, Vocal Music, Needlework, Shorthand, and Calisthenics. Before school commences each day, the Lady Principal conducts prayers with the assembled pupils. Pupils are prepared by the regular course for the matriculation and junior scholarship examinations of the New Zealand University. A large number of the pupils of the Girls' High School have matriculated, and from twelve to twenty on an average are successfully prepared for this examination each year. Many of the pupils after leaving school have taken the B.A. and M.A. degrees, and others are pursuing their course. An excellent tennis court has been constructed with money raised by the pupils by means of entertainments. The school also has a very fair museum, and a small circulating library is provided for the use of the girls.

Miss Hamilton, the Lady Principal, was born near Melrose, in Scotland, She was educated at the John Watson's Institution, and at the Salisbury Place Institution, in the beautiful city of Edinburgh, and afterwards at Canterbury College, Christchurch. Miss Hamilton arrived in Dunedin in 1877, and taught for a few months in the Timaru Public School. When the Girls' High School in Christchurch was opened, Miss Hamilton was at ones appointed to an assistant teachership there, and she occupied that position for five years. It is worthy of remark that during Miss Hamilton's residence in Christchurch, the whole of the lady graduates in the Colony of New Zealand were included in the staff of that school. Subsequently, the Wellington Girls' High School was opened by Miss Hamilton, assisted by Miss Margaret Richmond (now Mrs. Fell), and Mr. (now Dr.) Innes.

page 368

Dr. John Innes, M.A., the First Assistant-Master at the Girls' High School, Wellington, is a New Zealander, having been born at Christchurch. He received his education in the Cathedral City, and while attending school there, was the winner of a scholarship which entitled him to a term of study at Christ's College, Christchurch. While at the College, Dr. Innes carried off a Junior University Scholarship, and this took him to Canterbury College, where he distinguished himself in no uncertain manner. He was successful in securing a Senior University Scholarship, and, in addition to this, had the honour of being the winner of the Bowen Prize on two occasions. Dr. Innes gained his B.A. degree in 1880, and his M.A. degree, with first-class honours in Latin and English, during the following year. In 1891 he obtained the LL.B. degree, and in 1894 that of LL.D. Dr. Ian's was assistant-teacher at the Timaru High School, holding that position for about a year.

The other members of the regular staff are, Miss Marchant, M.A., Miss Ecclesfield, M.A., Miss Morrah, M.A., Miss Wilson (certificated); and there are five visiting teachers.

St. Patrick's College (Motto Sectare Fidem). The noble building so well known as St. Patrick's College, an engraving of which is given herewith, is entirely devoted to the cause of education. It is now over ten years ago since this magnificent institution was established. The edifice was erected by the well-known contractors, Messrs. Murdoch and Rose, from plans prepared by Mr. Thomas Turnbull, architect, of Wellington. The foundation stone was laid on the 16th of March, 1884, by the Most Rev. Dr. Redwood (then Black and white drawing of St. Patrick's College Bishop, now Archibishop, of Wellington). The building was completed, and formally opened in 1885 (June 1st), and has been since conducted with signal success by the Marist Fathers. His Grace the Most Rev. Francis Redwood, S.M., D.D., Archbishop of Wellington, is the president. The Very Rev. F. J. Watters, S.M., D.D., is the popular and revered rector. The college faculty, in addition to the president and rector, comprises the Rev. T. Bower, S.M., B.A., vicerector, the Rev. M. J. O'sSullivan, S.M., Procurator the Rev. Paul Aubry, S.M., Rev. J. P. M. Hickson, S.M., Rev. J. Bowden, G. M., M.A., Rev. J. D. Clanoy, S.M., Rev. Stanis'aus Mahony, S.M., and Rev. Joseph Herbert, S.M. Dr. Thomas Cahill, M.Ch., is the medical adviser, Well-known professors and teachers of drawing, music, and gymnastics attend periodically. St. Patrick's College, according to the prospectus, “is intended to afford the youth of New Zealand a sound, liberal education, while furnishing all those safeguards of religion without which education ceases to be an advantage.” The ordinary course of instruction includes English, Latin, Greek, modern languages, mathematics, physical sciences, music, drawing, etc., but a special course is provided, in which students are taught everything needful for commercial pursuits. In addition to English, modern languages, and mathematics, the commercial course includes bookkeeping, mercantile correspondence, and penmanship, shorthand, typewriting, and science. There is also a special course of physical science, which includes instruction in astronomy, mechanics (theoretic and applied), sound, light, and heat, magnetism, and electricity. The fine arts course embraces drawing in freehand, perspective, model, and geometry; also from the cast in outline, light, and shade. In painting students have instruction in sepia from the cast and models, and in colours in elementary designs. The thoroughness of the education imparted in this splendidly managed institution cannot be better illustrated than by referring to the honours list in connection with the college. In the years 1886 to 1893 inclusive, forty-seven students passed the matriculation examination; two qualified for matriculation on junior scholarship papers in 1893; eight passed the junior scholarship examinations, 1888 to 1891 inclusive; two passed the barristers' general knowledge examination in 1890, one passed the medical preliminary and two the senior Civil Service in 1803; while twenty-three passed the junior Civil Service examinations in the years 1888 to 1893. The students have also upheld the honour of their alma mater in music and drawing. In the examinations in connection with Trinity College, London, thirteen students in the years 1889 to 1894 succeeded in obtaining junior passes, two passed intermediate in 1894, seven obtained junior honours in 1890 and 1893, and one intermediate honours in 1894. In the examinations held at the Wellington Technical School in 1894, out of twelve students presented for examination, seven obtained the note “excellent,” two “good,” and two “pass,”—an exceptionally high and creditable record. Two scholarships, of the annual value of forty guineas each, are submitted for competition each year with the approbation of His Grace the Archbishop. Each of these is tenable for two years, and may be competed for by the Catholic boys attending the parochial schools, or in cases where no Catholic schools exist, on the recommendation of the priests of the respective parishes. In connection with the college there is a strong literary and debating society, formed in 1892, which has been thoroughly successful. Public debates have been held periodically, in which many of the members distinguished themselves, demonstrating the great benefits received at any rate by the active members. One of the aims of the founders of St. Patrick's College was to educate some of the youth of the Colony for the priesthood of the Church. The hopes of the good men who established it have already been realised, as several of the earliest students have successfully passed through their theological course, and have been raised to the privileged dignity. Considerable attention is given to the physical training of the pupils, in proof of which a roomy gymnasium, equipped with all necessary appointments, is attached to the college. Here the boys, under a professional instructor, have regular lessons in all that marks a complete course of physical drill. A cricket club and a football club promote healthy rivalry in public games, and no mean position has been reached in friendly warfare by the college representatives. A few years ago (1888, 1889), the college colours (blue and white) during two seasons held an unbroken record, and gained the unique distinction, for a college, of carrying off and winning out against all comers the coveted Junior Cup.

page 369

In 1889 the College football team journeyed north to Wanganui, where it defeated the representatives of the Wanganui Collegiate School. The same year the bearers of the “blue and white” “carried the war” to far Dunedin, and after a tough battle and gallant stand, carried home the palm of victory from the champions of the Dunedin High School. Attached to the college is a valuable and varied library, comprising upwards of 6000 volumes, all of which are catalogued and arranged for the convenience of readers. Up in the tower, close by the statue of the patron saint, may be seen the substantial nucleus of a museum, containing many specimens of fauna and flora of New Zealand and Australia—insects, minerals, and fossil-ferns, assegais, clubs and arrows from the “Islands of the Sea.” archaic blunderbusses and primitive revolvers, relics of “the road” in the early days of bushrangers, shells, kauri gum, and other valuable curios. Says the Evening Post, in a sub-leader under date of 18th March, 1895:—“St. Patrick's College.—Yesterday, the anniversary of Ireland's patron saint, was the anniversary of a Wellington institution of which its citizens are justly proud. Just ten years ago yesterday St. Patrick's College was founded, and to-day it starts on its eleventh year, having fully accomplished the promises of the founders. The popular rector, the Rev. Dr. Watters, has every reason to feel gratified with what his school has accomplished, and to look forward hopefully and confidently to the future. The new year is started with over eighty students in residence and some sixty day students, and so thorough is the organisation of this large family that everything works smoothly, and the duties of the day are done without fuss or confusion and without assuming the appearance of tasks. This state of things is, of course, largely due to the good work of a very efficient professorial staff, which this year is practically of the same personnel as that which did such excellent service last year, the chief change being the substitution of the Rev. Joseph Herbert. S.M., who has just arrived from Europe, for the Rev. P. W. Tymons, who has been called to missionary labours. The record of the college for the past year was an excellent one. Five students passed the Trinity College (London) musical theory examinations, one of them taking honours. Of three students presented for the Junior Civil Service Examinations, two passed. Of seven sent up for matriculation, all passed. Of twelve sent to the School of Design for examination in geometrical drawing, eleven passed, and two secured certificates for knowledge of perspective. The whole of the fine college building has just been renovated, and library, dormitories, class halls, recreation hall, gymnasium, museum, all look bright, fresh, and cheery. There are all sorts of organisations among the pupils. There is a brass band of thirty members, which made so creditable an appearance in the college grounds yesterday under Mr. Cimino. There is a string band of twenty performers under Mr. Trowell, and there is a singing class consisting of nearly half the school, under the Rev. Father Aubry. In fact, there are some fifty boys actively engaged in the study of music, theoretical and practical, and nearly every instrument, from the drum and cornet to the double bass, 'cello, and organ, is studied within the college walls. Too high praise cannot be given to this general devotion to the most refining of the arts. Then there is the literary and debating society under the presidency of the rector. Last year some fifteen of its members gave public proof of their ability in debate. Altogether, the college starts on its second decade under the happiest auguries for the future, and Dr. Watters, his staff, and his students will have the heartiest good wishes for their continued success. In 1894 there were eighty-one boarders and fifty-four day pupils on the roll of this excellent educational institution. The splendid success and well-merited popularity of the college are mainly due to the untiring energy and ability of the Very Rev. F. J. Watters, S.M., D.D., who has directed its affairs throughout the ten years of its existence.”

The Rector of St. Patrick's College is the Very Rev. Felix Joseph Watters, S.M., D.D. Uninterruptedly rector from the opening of the college-June 1st, 1885, Dr. Watters still presides over the institution, which he has had the gratification to see rise from first elements to its present foremost position in the educational world. The rector was born early in the “fifties” at Dundalk, Ireland, a flourishing maritime town some forty miles north of Dublin. His secondary education was begun and completed at St. Mary's College, Dundalk, where for some years he had the advantage of reading under the guidance of the present Archbishop of Wellington, His Grace the Most Rev. Francis Redwood, S.M., D.D. Dr. Watters is a graduate of the Catholic University, Dublin, since merged into the Royal University of Ireland. His ecclesiastical studies were pursued on the Continent of Europe, and completed at the Catholic University, Dublin. He holds the degree of Doctor in Theology, “S.T.D.,” from the College of Propaganda, Rome. After his ordination in 1874, the ordaining prelate being the Most Rev. Dr. Redwood, Dr. Watters for ten years filled the chair of English and Classics at the Catholic University School, Dublin. The last year of his teaching there he had the satisfaction of seeing one of his pupils—since a distinguished Fellow of the Royal University—take premier place, and first gold medal, senior grade, out of all the secondary schools of Ireland, as examined by the Commissioners of Intermediate Education in Ireland. From the Catholic University
Very Rev. Dr. F. J. Watters.

Very Rev. Dr. F. J. Watters.

page 370 School, Dublin. Dr. Watters, on the invitation of Archbishop Redwood, in 1884, came to Wellington to undertake the responsible charge of founding, shaping, and directing St. Patrick's College. Since January, 1885, Dr. Watters has been a resident of Wellington, and his work as citizen and educationalist is before the public. Besides his labours in the college as director and teacher, Dr. Watters is prominent in ecclesiastical functions, and not unfrequently fills the pulpit in this city and elsewhere in the colonies. Dr. Watters has associated with him a powerful staff of Home-trained masters:— Rev. Thomas. Bower, B.A., Vice-rector, Rev. Mathew O'aSullivan, Rev. Paul Aubry, Rev. James P.M. Hickson, Rev. John Bowden, M.A., Rev. John D. Clancy, Rev. Stanislaus Mahony, Rev. Joseph Herbert, and several visiting masters for music, drawing, shorthand, drill, etc. St. Patrick's College, in its young history, connotes unmistakable success as the resultant of whole-hearted energy in the cause of denominational education.