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< Early Canberra Government Schools

Glenwood [1883 - 1934]

On 20 November 1882 a group of residents of the Parish of Wallaroo submitted an application for the establishment of a public school at Glenwood. The application was signed by William George Hildred, Alexander Boyd, Samuel Southwell, John Joseph Baines, Martin Joyce, Lachlan McPherson, Francis Coulton, Patrick Coulton and David Rule. Their children were Baines: Alf (12), Emily (10), Mary Ann (8), Benjamin (6). Boyd : Patrick (13), David (11), William (8), Robert (7), James (5). Coulton: James (13), Ann(12), Cecily(11), Agnes(9), Charles (7), John (7), Anne (5). Hildred: George (13), Andrew (11), Eliza (9), Albert Henry (7). Joyce: Emily (7). McPherson: James (10), Albert (8), Flora (6). Southwell: Hubert (12), Horace (11), Ben Richard (8), George (5). Rule W.

Other family names of children who attended Glenwood School in the early days were Blundell, Clarke, Gee, Rochford and Rolfe.

The Minister for Public lnstruction decided in March 1883 to establish the school and it opened later in the year. Following an application by local families for a grant of land on which to build a school, Glenwood School site was dedicated on 18 January 1884 and valued at fifteen pounds. Eleven eucalypts were marked to indicate the boundaries.

The school commenced in a slab building (20ft by 13ft) with a shingle roof, unlined and built with community help. lnitially there were 24 boys and 11 girls enrolled with an average weekly attendance of 27. The first teacher, Alexander Elliott, extended the hut by 10 feet at a cost of 25 pounds.

Additions were made to the school and grounds in 1884 by James Rolfe, by providing two toilets, two windows and two 7 foot long desks for twenty five pound. lt was described as inadequate.

"The present building is an inferior slab and bark one which leaks in numerous places every shower. ln winter it is entirely too cold for children to be in and several children died last winter through cold caught in attending it, and they are famished in summer due to no water."

Following parent complaints, a more substantial school was approved and completed in 1897 for seventy five pound, ten shillings. It had a galvanised iron roof, a fireplace (which was replaced but never successful) and outer walls. A further 5 acres were resumed in 1907 to provide a school paddock. Mr G.K. Kinlyside lined the building at a cost of thirty pound in 1908.

Mr James N. Gormly and his wife lrene Pratt were the last teachers when the school closed in 1934. The building was later moved to 'Forest View' where it was again used as a school house for 2-3 years for the children of Alexander Gregory (Greg) Rochford and grandchildren of Mary Ann Baines. lt was then known as Bennetts Creek School. It was finally moved to Nanima Tennis Club.

School Life - Jim Rochford, former pupil

Mr Jim Rochford of Hall attended Glenwood School under the supervision of the last teachers at that school, Irene Pratt and James Gormley. Jim started school at six years old and left in December 1927, aged14.

Of some of the other pupils, Jim said "Frank Rolfe, a cousin of mine came from Bedellick. The Clarkes came from the Dog Trap Road area and walked 3 miles. Some crossed the Murrumbidgee River to go to school. lf the creek was up the Wilson children stayed overnight with us and mother packed lunch for us all. Bob Jordan rode seven miles on a pony and had to open about eight gates. He lived out near 'Springfield' and had his ears eaten off with chillblains! Many of the children walked up to 5 miles to attend and after the closure of a half-time school at Gooda Creek, travelled on horseback or sulky for over 7 miles.

At exam time those eligible to take exams gathered from small schools to Hall Public School. lt was the senior school with the most pupils with Charles Thompson as teacher. Those from Glenwood that sat the exam at the same time as me were Tom Rolfe, Zena Rochford, Bernie Rochford and the girl Butt who stayed the night before with the Morris's as her mother was a Morris. I was shy and too frightened to pass because it meant I would have to go away from home."

"..............it was never a comfortable place in which to study but nevertheless excellenf scholastic results were achieved by many who attended this school, in itself a tribute to the endeavour, determination and will to succeed displayed by teachers and pupils under very difficult conditions. During the stewardship of teacher Mr William Alexander 1897 - 1907, Mr P.F. Sheehy, lnspector of Schools, reported that the handwriting of pupils at Glenwood Sctrool was the best of any in his Inspectorate."

Sadly, after the deaths of two Blundell and two McPherson children from diphtheria, all pupils of the school, Glenwood closed for a time.

"...............the highest attendance was about fourteen pupils. A one teacher school, all classes were taught in the same room and they were very efficient teachers, we thought in that time, although most of us didn't like going to school because we liked the wild run around bush style. We all worked on our little farms or home before we went to school, fed animals, cut wood, prepared things so we had a fairly long day. We had to go home and do our homework. We used to fall asleep doing our homework. We had sports. lt was a rocky little knob where we went to school so it wasn't conducive to having a good cricket field. The citizens and friends built a tennis court for us. The great problem was for us to get enough money to buy tennis racquets. We went along with what we had for ordinary, everyday use and with lunch in a little calico bag, which we would hang it up in a bush shed made of little bush poles. That was a little garden shed as well. The teachers had a garden to grow plants and so on."

Glenwood School picnic 1905

The picnic in connection with the Glenwood Public School on Wednesday last attracted a large crowd from all parts of the district. The parents in this locality are noted for a genial open heartedness common to Australian bush life, and on this account the place is highly popular. Mr. W. Alexander, the teacher, is a general favorite, and worked in a cheerful manner towards promoting the enjoyment aud comfort or visitors. He was ably assisted by the good ladies of Glenwood whom I do not care to particularise, in case I should make accidental omissions. The prizes were numerous and the athletic events were keenly contested. The dinner provided was excellent, and the way some of us laid our ears back and attacked the good tidings was an eye-opener. The dance at Mr. Alex. Rochford's at night ended a pleasant day.

[Friday 2 June 1905. Queanbeyan Leader]

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