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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Otago & Southland Provincial Districts]

Primary Schools

Primary Schools.

The Oamaru North School was established in 1870 in a small building not far from the site now occupied. The first portion of the present building was erected in 1873, the infants' schoolroom being added six years later, and two additional rooms in 1886. In 1888 the building was further enlarged, and the present infants' room was built in 1897, when the whole establishment was re-organised. The main school is built of Oamaru stone, and consists of seven rooms, with accommodation—including the infants' department, which is built in wood, and has three class-rooms—for 600 children, and there are 450 on the roll. The school ground, two acres in extent, has front-ages to Reed Street on the west, Exo Street on the north and to Torridge Street on the south. The headmaster is assisted by six certificated teachers and one pupil teacher.

Mr. James Lindsay , Headmaster, was born at Benholm, Kincardineshire, Scotland, in 1847. He was educated at the Johnshaven public school, where he served a pupil teacher-ship of five years. Mr. Lindsay came to Port Chalmers in 1870, when he joined the Otago Education Department as second assistant at the Dunedin Middle school, where he continued for about four years. Mr. Lindsay afterwards became first assistant at the South Dunedin school, now known as the High Street school, and was afterwards first assistant at the Normal school from 1876 till 1879, when he was transferred to the position he has since held in Oamaru.

Mr. John Pringle , M.A., formerly Third Assistant at the North School, was born at Milton, in 1870, and educated at Southbridge school and at the Tokomairiro District High School, where he gained the dux medal in 1886, and where he also served his pupil-teachership for four years. He gained the Normal School and University Exhibition Scholarship of £60 a year, for three years, and studied simultaneously at the Normal Training College and the Otago University, where he graduated B.A. in November, 1893, and M.A. twelve months later, with honours in mathematics. In the D examination he gained a second science prize, and was the second highest in the Colony. Mr. Pringle was appointed to the North School in February, 1895. In April, 1900, he went to Nighteaps, as Home Missionary, assisting the Rev. A. Macdonald of the Presbyterian Church, Otautau, Southland.

Mr. J. Pringle.

Mr. J. Pringle.

The Middle School , Oamaru, which was originally known as the Oamaru Grammar School and afterwards as the first District High School, formerly occupied a site on the hill overlooking the present premises, which are situated on a section of about two acres fronting Severn Street. The main building is erected in Oamaru stone and contains six school-rooms, besides two small rooms, the whole having accommodation for 420 children. The infants' department is in a separate building, which is of wood, and has two rooms seated for 120 scholars. There is a good gymnasium, which is thoroughly equipped with the latest appliances, and the buildings are surrounded by suitable play-grounds. The page 516 headmaster is supported by four assistants and two pupil teachers.

Mr. Edward Earl , B.A., Headmaster of the Middle School, Oamaru, was born at Plymouth, England, in 1858. In 1863 he arrived with his parents in Melbourne, where he received his primary education. He afterwards studied at the Training College, and received a teacher's certificate from the Education Department. For two years Mr. Earl was in charge of the Model school in Collingwood, and came to Dunedin in 1883 to fill a similar position. In 1883 he was appointed to the Middle school, Oamaru.

The Oamaru South School occupies a site of two acres and a quarter in extent, and has frontages to Arun Street on the north, Hull Street on the east and Greta Street on the west. It was opened in the present building in 1877, and the original building situated in Greta Street and known as the old Grammar school has since been demolished. The present building is of Oamaru stone, is of one storey, and contains five large rooms, each 20 feet in height, and thoroughly well ventilated, through walls and ceiling. Each room is adapted for 100 pupils, and there is also is room for the headmaster in the main building, besides two smaller rooms. The infants' school, erected in wood and plaster, contains one large, and two small rooms, and has accommodation for 150 pupils. The school has a very fine gymnasium, which was built in 1897 at a cost of £300, half of which was raised locally, and the rest was contributed by the Board. The gymnasium is complete in every respect, and has the most modern appliances and fittings. These, together with the stage, are all movable, so that the room may, if required, be used for the purpose of public meetings and entertainments. The “Honours Board” of the school occupies a prominent position on the walls of the 6th standard classroom, and displays the names of the successful pupils who have been duxes of the school since the year 1878. Among the names there are those of several persons who have distinguished themselves politically, educationally, or otherwise in the Colony. The headmaster is assisted by a staff of five qualified assistants and three pupil teachers.

Mr. John Harkness Rice , Headmaster of the South School, was born in 1848 at Birr, Ireland, and was educated at the Santry Training College, Dublin, where he studied for his profession and became licensed to teach. For five years before leaving for the colonies, he taught in private schools and colleges in England, and arrived in Port Chalmers by the ship “Atrato,” in 1874. Mr. Rice at once joined the service of the Education Board, and was appointed third master at the Oamaru Grammar school. Two years later he became first assistant, and on the opening of the South school, in 1877, he was appointed to the position he has since continuously held. Mr. Rice is a past master of Lodge Waitaki E.C., and is captain of the cadet corps, which numbers sixty-three, in connection with the South school. He was captain of the I Battery for a similar period, and later had the rank of quartermaster of the North Otago Battalion. He has takeri a general interest in football and cricket clubs, and is a member of the Oamaru Chess Club, and also of the Phoenix Bowling Club and of the Korero Club. Mr. Rice was married, in 1879, to a daughter of Mr. E. Penfold, of London, and has one son and four daughters