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The Jubilee History of Nelson: From 1842 to 1892.


page 155

A point has now been reached in the history of Nelson at which it will be convenient to give a description of the various efforts made to promote Education, from the earliest days of the settlement to the present time. One or two small private schools were started very soon after the settlers had managed to make themselves more or less comfortable in their primitive raupo and fern shanties; and during the hardships and troubles of those early days, many parents denied themselves even necessaries, in order that their little ones might have some schooling.

The first Public School was opened in Nelson on the 12th September, 1842. The first meeting in connection therewith was held on the 24th May, at which it was stated that the design of the subscribers was to establish an elementary school, to be open to the children of all, without regard to the religious opinions of the parents, in which no sectarian views whatever should be taught; and that the Bible, when read, should be read without note or comment.

A public subscription was opened to pay the expense of building a school-room. A Committee of four, viz., Captain England, Messrs. Tuckett, Macshane, and McRae, was appointed to proceed with the building as soon as the subscriptions would warrant them in doing so. Captain Wakefield, on behalf of of the N.Z. Company, engaged to furnish a site on acre 208, at a nominal rent of 6d. per foot frontage for 20 years, and to give the same amount of money as had been subscribed. In July the Committee called for tenders, that of Messrs. Bird and Palmer, for £100, being accepted. On 31st August the subscribers met, appointed Mr. Moore schoolmaster, and arranged to open the school on 12th September. The following were appointed a General Committee of Management:—Captains Wakefield and England, Dr. Macshane, Messrs. Tuckett, Anderson, Richardson, King, Spence, J. Barton, McDonald, Domett, Tytler, Jollie, Brown, Cockburn, James, Cautley, and Captain Wilson. Mr. C. Elliott was elected Hon. Secretary, and Messrs. Domett and Wakefield Hon. Inspectors.

page 156

This building was removed for school purposes to Wakefield in 1845; the school itself being absorbed by the Nelson School Society; just as the day schools of that body were in time handed over to the care and management of the Nelson Central Board of Education.