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< Early Canberra Government Schools

Toual [1883 - 1931]

Toual School

An application from John Hall, ‘farmer’, for a Provisional School at Greenwood Farm (Toual), three miles from Murrumbateman, was approved in April 1888. The residents provided a slab building of 20’x12’x8’ with shingled roof and wooden floor, built on two acres of Hall’s own land.

After some argument about the best site, a new school was built in 1894 by Mr Pearce Leslie at a cost of £70.2.6d on the other side of Murrumbateman Creek. In that same year payment of £20 to Mr James England was approved for ‘compensation for land resumed for public school purposes’.

Toual School finally closed in May 1931, after operating for its last three years on a half time basis with Williams Creek school, and G.F.Sangster as teacher. Earlier it operated on a Half-time basis with Gooda Creek (1925-27), and twice with Elizabethfields.

After official closure as a public school, local residents operated it by themselves for a further nine years as ‘Kirkdale school’ (1931-1940).

After being moved away in 1942, and used for other purposes, in 1982 the school was returned ‘home’ by Ken Helm and now operates as the Helms Winery tasting room, Butts Road, via Murrumbateman.

‘Air conditioned’ school'

‘The winters were very severe in my early days. The frosts would stay on the ground all day, and in the shady parts of the creek we would walk on the ice...You can use your own imagination as to what it was like sitting in a cold classroom, no warm clothing and the majority, no boots.

The local school was a weatherboard building with an iron roof and a chimney at one end. It was a crude, cold building.
The cracks or crevices in the weather-board were large enough to let in plenty of fresh air, and in cold weather if you dared to light a fire you could not see for smoke. Consequently it was better to freeze than to put up with the smoke.

When we were so cold we could not do our lessons the teacher would march us out and make us run around the play-ground until we warmed up’.

[Memories of Elsie ‘Nana’ Thompson. From Mulholland, Far away days: 1995:26]

'A social centre'

At Nanama Creek the poverty-stricken farmers were nearly all members or relatives of the Butt family who composed a strong Methodist group………

In 1901 a new pisé Methodist church was built by voluntary labour, supplying a welcome centre for the socially-starved backwater whose nearest amenities were the post office and dirt-floored store at Kirkdale, 21/2 miles away in the direction of Gundaroo.

There was a large enough congregation at that time to warrant holding services in the Methodist church twice each Sunday. The building was also used for meetings of the Band of Hope and for concerts by children from the nearby Toual public school, as well as for the regular harvest festival and concert which attracted people from miles around.
[Lea-Scarlett, Gundaroo: 1972: 126]

'Poor lodgings'

Teacher. Toual Provisional School
7 - 2 - 95
Sir,
I have the honor to apply to you for a removal to another school as I can’t get suitable accommodation here. I am obliged to sleep in a small unventilated room which the doctors says is injuring my health. I asked Mrs Hall to erect a suitable room for me, and she says they couldn’t afford it. Mrs Armstrong told me she wouldn’t accommodate any teachers, and these are the only places where a teacher could possible lodge. The room in which I have to sleep is only 5ft in length 8ft in breadth and 6ft high. The roof is only the same height as the walls (6ft).

I have the honor to be Sir,
Your obedient servant
Mary A O’Donnell

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NSW Government schools from 1848

< Early Canberra Government Schools

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