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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Nelson, Marlborough & Westland Provincial Districts]


page 62


The free, secular, and compulsory system of education, which has been in vogue in New Zealand since 1877, was avowedly based upon the system previously in forte in the provincial district of Nelson, in respect to government by a central board through local committees. The first private school in Nelson was opened on the 27th of March, 1842, and the first public school commenced on the 11th of September in the same year. Shortly alter wards the Nelson School Society was established, chiefly through the effoits of the late Mr. Matthew Campbell. Under the auspices of this society branch schools were opened at Wakefield in 1843, Spring Grove in 1845, Stoke in 1845, Waimea West in 1846, Richmond in 1846, Waimea East in 1848, and at Riwaka in 1848. In the latter year the number of children attending the public schools was 422. Subszquently schools were established at Clifton Terrace, Hope, Appleby, and Motupipi. Upon the establishment of the provinces in 1854, the Provincial Council appointed a Commission to prepare a system of primary education. This commission after some discussion, agreed: “That as every settler was to be called upon to pay for its support, whatever his religious opinions might be, the basis on which the scheme ought to rest must in equity be a secular one.” A Bill based upon this report was passed in 1856, with a clause allowing a Bible lesson to be read in schools at a special hour, with a proviso that parents, objecting to this, might withdraw their children during the lesson. It was also provided that separate schools established by Roman Catholics or other religious bodies, should be subsidised to the same extent as the ordinary schools, if thrown open by their conductors for inspection by the Central Board of Education. Under this system the province was divided into education districts, each with its local committee, and each committee returned a member to the Central Board. When the Education Act of 1877 came into force, the Nelson system was merged in the national one. At that time there were 3,839 scholars on the rolls. not counting the denominational schools which had been established; and the Roman Catholic schools had 590 scholars, with a staff of twelvé teachers.

The Nelson College Council Of Governors has its office in Trafalgar Street, His Excellency the Governor is Visitor, and the members of the Council are: Messrs T. H. Bannehr, Philip Best, J. Henry Cock, C. Y. Fell, B.A., W. N. Franklyn, John Graham, M.H.R., F. W. Hamilton, G A. Harkness, M.A., and F. H. Richmond. Mr. James Blair is Secretary.

Mr. John Holloway , formerly Secretary of the Nelson College Board of Governors, took office in July, 1896. He was born in Englánd in 1842, and landed in New Zealand in 1862. Shortly after his arrival he entered the service of the Bank of New Zealand at Auckland, and afterwards occupied various positions in the bank in different parts of the Colony. In 1880 he took charge of the Nelson branch, and about sixteen years later, when the amalgamation with the Colonial Bank of New Zealand took place, he was retired. Mr. Holloway has acted as churchwarden of All Saints, Nelson, for many years, and is also connected with the Sunday schools and mission rooms. He resides in Bronte Street, Nelson.

The Nelson Boys' College owes its origin to the New Zealand Company, which founded the settlement. From the moneys raised from the sale of land to the early settlers, the Company set apart the sum of £15,000, for the purpose of founding and endowing a college, In 1854 the General Assembly passed the “Nelson Trust Funds Act,” which provided for the electon of trustees to administer the whole of the trust funds, inclusive of the provision made for education. The election took place on the 1st of January, 1855, and the first trustees were: Messrs Alfred Fell, David Sclanders, Charles Elliot, David Monro, William Wells, John D. Greenwood, and John W. Barnicoat. These gentleman also constituted the first Council of Governors, with the addition of John Waring Saxton, Charles B. Wither, Alfred Domett, and Henry C. Daniell. It was provided that the Governors should be elected periodically, and the electoral body was constituted under the provisions of the “Nelson Trust Funds Act.” This, however, was repealed by the “Nelson College Amendment Act, 1870,” and the appointment of Governors vested in the Visitor—the Governor of New Zealand. In 1856 the College was opened in temporary premises in Manuka Street, but the present beautiful site, containing twelve acres of land, having been purchased, it was decided to erect thereupon a suitable building, and on the 7th. of December, 1859, the foundation stone was laid by his Excellency the Governor, Colonel Gore Brown. The actual amount with which the College was endowed was £20,000. and the building represented, with the cost of the site, and subsequent additions, a total expenditure of over £13,000. The first Headmaster was the Rev. J. C. Bagshaw, M.A., and since his retirement the following gentlemen have been successively Principals of the College: Mr. George Hepple, M.A., Mr. R. Broughton, M.A., Mr. J. D. Greenwood, Rev. C. L. MeLean, M.A., Rev. F. C. Simmonds, M.A., Rev. J. C. Andrew, M.A., Mr. W. Ford, M.A., Mr. J. W. Joynt, M.A., and Mr. W. S. Littlejohn. M.A., who was succeeded by the present Headmaster, Mr. H. L. Fowler, M.A. “Endowed Scholarships” were founded respectively by Mr. R. K. Newcome. Major Richmond. Sir Edward Stafford. Mr. Alfred Fell, and Mr. John Tinline, all pioneer settlers of Nelson. Numerous pupils or ex-pupils of the college have taken degrees at the New Zealand University, and Nelsonians have won a large number of senior and junior scholarships in competition under that body. The officers of the college are: The Visitor (His Excellency the Governor), and the Council of Governors, which consists of Mr. J. Graham, M.H.R., Mr. W. N. Franklyn, Mr. J. Henry Cock, Mr. C. Y. Fell, B.A., Mr. G. A. Harkness, M.A., Mr. T. H. Bannehr, Mr. F. W. Hamilton, and Mr. F. page 63 H. Richmond. The Principal is Mr. H. L. Fowler, M.A. (Oxon), who is assisted by Mr F. Milner, M.A. (New Zealand University), Mr. G. J. Lancaster, M.A., Mr C. H. Broad, B.A., Mr. M. K. McCulloch, M. A., Mr. E. H. Severne, B.A., Mr. W. H. Johnston, B. A., Mr. H. E. Smith, B.A., and Mr. O. W. Williams, B.A. Music and drawing are taught by visiting masters. The resident masters are the Principal, Mr. Broad, Mr. McCulloch, Mr. Severne, Mr. Johnston, Mr. Smith, and Mr. Williams. Mrs. Fowler, who resides on the college premises, supervises the genoral household and other duties, of the establishment. The school year is divided into three terms, commencing about the 2nd of February, 26th of May, and the 15th of September. The course of subjects consists of English, Latin, Greek, French, German, Science, Mathematics, Mechanics, Chemistry, Physics, English composition, history, geography (political and physical), bookkeeping, shorthand, drawing, drill, and gymnastics. On Wednesday, the 7th of December, 1904—the 45th anniversary of its foundation—the whole of the college buildings were totally destroyed by fire. Notwithstanding this disorganising disaster, teaching was resnmed next morning in the School of Music and the Presbyterian church school. About the middle of 1905 tenders were called for a new building in brick, with many of the architectural features of the previous wooden building. During the the seasons the college puts three cricket elevens and four football fifteens on the field. A dramatic performance is held usually at the end of the second term, and some play of Shakespeare's is chosen for the purpose. Soon after the beginning of the third term, there is an annual sports meeting, towards which the Governors of the College contribute, and amongst other trophies, a senior challenge cup, valued at £50, is annually competed for by the boys. Mr. Ernest Rutherford, now Professor of Physics at Montreal, College, Canada, and famous on account of his original researches in connection with radio-activity, was educated at Nelson College.

Mr. H. L. Fowler , M.A., was appointed Principal of the Nelson Boys' College in January, 1904. He received his education at Rugby, and Balliol College, Oxford, England, where he took his degree. Before accepting his present appointment he was for ten years Rector of the Boys' and Girls' High School at Invercargill, which he raised to a high state of efficiency.

Mr. Frank Milner , M.A., First Assistant and English Master, Nelson College, was born in Nelson and educated at the college. Gaining a University junior scholarship, he completed his school course at Canterbury College, where he won an exhibition, and also the University senior scholarship in Latin. He obtained his M.A. degree in 1896, with first-class honours in Latin and English. Mr. Milner left Canterbury College on receiving the appointment of Junior Master at Nelson in 1897. His duties at first were chiefly confined to the junior school, and to the middle forms in classics and mathematics. The success of the “Nelsonian” was mainly due to Mr. Milner's exertions while he was Junior Master.

Mr. F. Milner.

Mr. F. Milner.

Mr. George Joseph Lancaster , M.A., was appointed Second Assistant and Mathematical Master at the Nelson Boys' College, in January, 1904. He was born in Liverpool, England, in 1875, arrived in New Zealand at an early age, and received his education at the Christchurch Boys' High School, and Canterbury College, where he took his degree, as well as a Senior Scholarship in Mathematics, with double first-class honours in Mathematics and Chemistry. Mr. Lancaster was married, in January, 1901, to a daughter of Mr. H. B. Hamlin, of Christchurch, and has two sons.

Mr. Charles Harrington Broad , M.A., Third Assistant Master of the Nelson Boys' College, is further referred to in this volume in connection with the volunteers, and also at page 160, of the Otago volume of this Cyclopedia.

Mr. Malcolm Mcculloch , M.A., Fourth Assistant Master at the Nelson Boys' College, is referred to in another article in connection with the volunteers.

Mr. G. H. Broad.

Mr. G. H. Broad.

Mr. Sydney Whitta Thornton , Commercial Master of the Boys' College, Nelson, is a son of Mr. J. Thornton, of Box Hill, Sussex, England, whose text-books on book-keeping are well known throughout the civilised world, and recognised as authoritative on the subject. Mr. Thornton was born at Braintree, Essex, in 1877, and received his education at private schools. Subsequently he became assistant master at Wycliffe, College, in Gloucestershire, where he remained for three years, and was afterwards articled to Messrs J. R. Ellerman and Co., a large firm of accountants in London. At the end of three years Mr. Thornton resigned his position with that firm, and in the interests of his health, sailed for New Zealand, where he arrived in 1900, and was appointed examiner in bookkeeping to the Nelson Board of Education, a position of great responsibility which he filled with credit to himself, and satisfaction to the Board. After filling an appointment as Government Audit Inspector in Welling ton, he removed to Nelson, and commenced the practice of his profession as a public accountant, with rooms over the National Bank in Trafalgar Street. He was appointed Commercial Master at the College in April, 1901. In conjunction with his father, Mr. Thornton has writter and published a book entitled “Book-keeping for Business Men” which has had a wide circulation throughout New Zealand, Mr. Thornton is a member of the Nelson Club, Captain of the Nelson Cricket Club, and Vice-Captain of the Association Football Club. As a Freemason, he is a member of the Victory page 64 Lodge, Nelson, No. 40, New Zealand Constitution. Mr. Thornton was married, in 1900, to a daughter of Mr. De Witt Gray of Dublin, and granddaughter of Lord Gray, of Kinfauns, and has one son.

Mr. F. F. C. Huddleston was appointed Drawing Master of the Nelson Boys' College in April, 1901. He was born in Brittany, France, and at an early age accompanied his parents to New Zealand, Mr. Huddleston received his education in Nelson, at the Catholic and Bishop's Schools, and at the Nelson College. He studied drawing at the Technical School, Wanganui, and scenic painting under Herr Carl Vennermark, in Auckland. Mr. Huddleston has a considerable reputation as a painter of New Zealand scenery, and he was the pioneer of Mount Cook as a tourist resort. It was he who built the Hermitage there in the year 1883.

Wrigglesworth and Binns, photo. Mr. F. F. C. Huddleston.

Wrigglesworth and Binns, photo.
Mr. F. F. C. Huddleston.

Mr. W. S. Littlejohn , M.A., formerly Principal of the Nelson Boys' College, was born in Aberdeen, Scotland, in 1859. He received his education at the Grammar School, and at the University of Aberdeen, where he graduated in 1879, After a couple of years' experience of boarding school life in the suburbs of Edinburgh, he determined to try his fortune in New Zealand. At the beginning of 1882, he was appointed by the Governors of Nelson College to the position of third master under the principalship of the Rev. J. C. Andrew. After four years' service he was promoted to the second mastership, and at the end of 1898, on the resignation of Mr. Joynt, he was appointed Principal. Mr. Littlejohn's particular line of work lies in the domain of mathematics and science. He resigned in September, 1903, to become Principal of the Presbyterian College, Melbourne, Victoria.

Mr. Edward Fortescue Whittle Cooke , Associate of St. Nicholas' College, Lancing, Sussex, became Third Assistant Master at the Nelson Boys' College, in 1888. He was born in Uruguay, in 1860, and educated at St. John's College, Hurstpierpoint, Sussex. Mr. Cooke left the Old Country in 1879, by the ship “Cuzco,” and after a few months' stay in Australia, crossed over to New Zealand and established a private school at Tauranga. After eight years of successful work there he accepted the position of Third Master at Nelson College, and held it for many years. Mr. Cooke was senior lieutenant of the Nelson College Cadet Corps; he also personally conducted the staging of the Shakespearian plays annually produced by the boys and their friends. He married Miss Morgan, a lady artist, wellknown in Nelson.

The Nelson Girls' College was erected in 1882 at a cost of about £7,000. It has spacious grounds, tennis courts, a gymnasium, and other means of recreation and amusement. The teaching staff consists of Miss A. C. Tendall, M.A., Lady Principal, and the following assistant mistresses; Miss E. B. Gribben, B.A., Miss B. M. Pickmere, M.A., Miss Kirton, M.A., Miss McEachern, M.A., Miss Jenkins, M.A., Miss Livesey, M.A., and Miss Ghisholm. There are three terms in the year, and the school hours are: Morning, 9.15 to 12.30; afternoon, 1.45 to 3.30, with a whole holiday on Saturday. The subjects aught include: English language and heterature, mathematics, Latin, French, German, history, geography, physics, botany, physiology, sewing, music, class drawing, calisthenics, and drill. Cooking lessons are taken by at least two thirds of the pupils of the college. In the higher classes special attention is given to subjects required for the various University examinations. The college has an excellent library, which is supplied not only with books, but with periodicals and
Girls' College, Nelson.

Girls' College, Nelson.

page 65 reviews. Many of the pupils of the college have graduated at the New Zealand University since 1889. Everything is done to promote the comfort of pupils, who come from all parts of the colony, and are escorted to and from the college by one of the resident governesses, as arranged by the Lady Principal. The college has accommodation for forty boarders; the arrangements are admirable, and the table is at all times supplied with good and wholesome food. In 1904 the college was greatly enlarged, eighteen extra bed rooms, and four school rooms having been added to the building. The ground floor contains the dining room, reception room, kitchen, housekeeper's rooms, and servants apartments. All the teachers take an interest in helping to amuse the girls out of schools hours; various kinds of amusements are provided for Saturday evenings, and there are entertainments during the winter months. The college is surrounded by about three acres of ground, part of which is devoted to a large vegetable garden, well-kept flower gardens, and a good asphalt tennis court. The play-ground is particularly pretty, and consists in part of grassy slopes thickly shaded with fine trees. Tchnis seems to be a great favourite amongst the pupils, and tournaments are held from time to time. Swimming is taught; the girls are taken to the Maitai swimming hole, where the sheds of the Ladies' Club have been erected. There are seven pianos in the college, and four practising rooms. The pupils are taught by visiting teachers from the Nelson School of Music. The college is strictly undenominational, but a Bible class is held on Sunday afternoons, and attended by the pupils at the option of their parents. A branch of the Christian Union has also been established, with a membership of fifty, and meetings are held every Monday afternoon, after school. The Nelson Girls' College certainly does good work, and is equal to any other school of its kind in the Australasian colonies.

Miss A. C. Tendall , M.A., Lady Principal of the Nelson Girls' College, was appointed to that position in June, 1900. Miss Tendall was born in England, arrived in New Zealand at at early age, and received her education at the Christchurch Girls' High School and Canterbury College, where she was junior scholar and John Tinline scholar of the New Zealand University. Her first appointment was an assistant mistress at the Wanganui College, and when she resigned that position it was in order to take up her present duties. In 1903 Miss Tendall took a trip to England, Europe and America, and visited Paris and Rome, where, at several of the more famous colleges, she gained an insight into the educational systems prevailing in those centres.

Miss B. E. Gibson , M.A., entered upon her duties as Lady Principal of the Girls' College in June, 1890. She was born in Lyttelton, and was educated at the Christchurch Girl's High School and Canterbury College; gained a junior scholarship in 1882, and two years later began to teach at the Girls' High School. In 1886 Miss Gibson carried off a Tinline scholarship, tenable at Canterbury College, and in the following year she graduated M.A., with honours, in Latin and English at the New Zealand University. Under her able tuition the attendance at the Nelson Girls' College increased year by year, and the high standard of proficiency attained by the pupils was evidence of the capabilities of Miss Gibson and her staff. Miss Gibson afterwards became the wife of Dr. Talbot, who now (1905) resides in Christchurch.

Mrs E. F. W. Cooke (formerly Miss Morgan), at one timeArt Teacher at the Nelson Girls' College, is a certificated teacher of the South Kensington School of Art, and was for some time a pupil in the studio of Signor Ludovici. The late Hon. J. C. Richmond, when on a visit to England in 1886, secured her services for the college on behalf of the Governors, and she took up the duties of the position in 1887. Mrs Cooke insists on all work being original, and students must study from nature or the round. As a result of this sound principle some very interesting and excellent work has been shown from time to time at exhibitions of work by her pupils.

Education Board.
The Education Board of Nelson has jurisdiction over a district which comprises the counties of Collingwood, Takaka, Buller, Mangahua, and Waimea, and all the boroughs within those counties. The members of the Board are: Messrs George Talbot (chairman), Harry Atmore, William H. Phillips, William Lock, William N. Franklyn, Andrew T. Maginnity, Thomas J. Baigent, John D. Beuke, and Thomas Bailie. For the last quarter of the year 1904, 118 public schools were at work, and the average weekly number of scholars on the
Mrs Cooke's Studio.

Mrs Cooke's Studio.

page 66 roll for the year was 5,596, with an average attendance of 4,712, or 82.2 per cent. The number of teachers in the regular service of the Board on the 31st of December, 1904, was 167, classified as follows: Thirty-four head teachers, forty-six assistants, four secondary assistants, and eighty-two sole teachers. There were, in addition, twenty-three pupil teachers, of whom only one was a male. In 1904 the Reefton Technical School was built, equipped, and largely employed, and a grant was made for a technical school in Nelson, which is now (1905) in course of construction. In June, 1904, the pupil teachers' entrance examination was held as usual, when twenty-three candidates presented themselves, of whom eleven passed, with papers set on the lines of the new syllabus. The work of the secondary classes of the three District High Schools has been carried on with regularity and evenness; and the average number on the roll for the year was: Westport, forty-nine; Motueka and Reefton, each twentyfour. Of the 118 schools in the educational district, 115 were examined during the year by the school inspectors, who reported that “the schools generally had been satisfactorily conducted.” Messrs G. A. Harkness, M.A., and Mr. A. Crawford, B.A., are the school inspectors. The offices of the Education Board are in Hardy Street. Mr. Stead Ellis is secretary, and Mr. Norman R. Williams, clerk.

Mr. Stead Ellis , Secretary of the Nelson Education Board, was appointed in 1879. He is a native of Bradford, England. At the age of sixteen he was articled to Mr. E. Milnes, architect, and subsequently was assistant to Mr. George Smith, architect, of Leeds. In 1879, Mr. Ellis left for New Zealand, by the ship “Euterpe,” and received his present appointment a few months after his arrival.

Primary Schools.

The Boys' Central School , Nile Street, Nelson, was built in 1894, and is a wooden building containing six class rooms. There are over 300 scholars on the roll, and the standards range from the third to the sixth. The headmaster, Mr. F. G. Gibbs, M.A., is assisted by Messrs F. Worley and W. Poole, Miss Hughes, and Miss Seldon.

Mr. F. G. Gibbs , M.A., Headmaster of the Boys' Central School, was appointed to his present position on the amalgamation of the schools in 1894.

The Central School For Girls , Nelson, is situated in the Toitoi Valley, and is a large wooden building with five classrooms. There is an average attendance of from 260 to 280 scholars, who are divided into standards ranging from the third to the sixth. The technical work done at the school includes cookery (for which a special teacher is provided), sewing, modelling and brushwork. The headmaster is Mr. F. V. Knapp, and he is ably assisted by Miss Bond, Miss Johnson, Miss Kitching, Miss Shone, and Miss Pettit.

Mr. F. V. Knapp , Headmaster of the Central School for girls, was appointed to his present position early in 1903. For ten years he was first assistant master at the Boys' Central School and for seven years he was headmaster, of the Hampden Street School. Mr. Knapp is a prominent Oddfellow. He is secretary of the Nelson district branch of the New Zealand Educational Institute.

Clifton Terrace Public School , situated on Wakapuaka Road, Nelson, is built on a site which commands a full view of the sea. The building has accommodation for fifty scholars; the number on the roll is thirty-six, and the average attendance is twenty-five. The school has always obtained good results at the annual examinations.

Miss Bolton, Headmistress of the Clifton Terrace School, entered the service of the Nelson Education Board as probationer at the Haven Road School, and was for two years and ahalf stationed at the Eighty-Eight Valley School. She held her present position since 1892, and has been most successful as a teacher since the commencement of her work.

The Tasman Street Kindergarten School stands on the section which it formerly shared with the Bridge Street school, which was destroyed by fire in 1896. The Hardy Street school was closed some years ago, and the Tasman Street school was then taken to accommodate one hundred pupils who had been in attendance at Hardy Street. The school is a mixed one, and when the second standard is passed the scholars are sent to the Boys' Central and Girls' Toi-Toi Valley schools respectively. There are 170 children on the roll, and the seating accommodation of the school is taxed to its fullest extent. There are only about two class rooms, and the teaching staff consists of the headmistress and two probationers. The reports have at all times been most satisfactory, and the percentage of failures at the examinations has been exceedingly small.

Miss Leach, the Headmistress, took charge in 1896, at the closing of the Hardy Street school, which had been under her control. She was appointed assistant at the Hardy Street school in 1879, and continued to act in that capacity with credit to herself and to the satisfaction of the authorities till 1894, when she was appointed headmistress. Miss Leach remained in charge for two years, when the school was closed. She holds an E1 certificate.

Mrs Scott , who has done much to forward the interests of education in Nelson, has been engaged in teaching for many years. She began at a comparatively early age at St. Dunstan's infant school, Stepney, London, prior to receiving her training as a teacher in Whiteland's College, Chelsea. At the close of her period of training she was appointed headmistress of St. George's school, Edgbaston, Birmingham, and held that position for eleven years. In 1877, shortly after she arrived in Nelson, she established in her own house at Rose Bank, College Hill, near the Boys' College, a private school for young ladies, and the attendance increased to such an extent that she was compelled to build a large schoolroom to accommodate her pupils. Mrs Scott had over 100 scholars attending her school from various places, including Wellington, Wanganui, Blenheim, Picton, Greymouth and Westport. She had a complete staff of teachers to carry on the work of secondary education. In 1883 the Girls' College was established, and, in the nature of things, the larger number of Mrs Scott's pupils flocked to the new building. Under the circumstances she at once applied for the mistress-ship of the Hardy Street Girls' State school, and for ten years she had control of that school, until it was decided to establish central schools for boys and girls in Nelson, when the Hardy Street school was closed, and Mrs Scott took up her present position as headmistress of the Haven Road school. Some thousands of pupils have been under Mrs Scott's tuition, and she can point with pride to good work done by her, for whether engaged in the work of primary or secondary education, she has had her heart in her high duties, and her name will ever remain fresh in the minds of those who owe much to the early training received at her her hands.

Mrs Scott.

Mrs Scott.