skip to content

Alchin, Mr Albert

A Teacher in the Family: Albert Noah Alchin. [Article by Garry Norman Smith]

My great uncle, Albert Noah Alchin is, so far, the only teacher (my own profession) I have found in my direct family line. He was born in 1870 at Araluen near Braidwood, New South Wales, the eldest child of Charles Alchin (1837-1908) and Mary Alchin (nee Stear) (1843-1897). Charles and Mary were the great, great grandparents of the author.

As an eight-year-old in 1878 Albert attended the [Chain of Ponds Public School], along with his siblings Percy and Martha; his cousins John, Sidney, Alfred and Margaret also attended at that time. At the age of 21 years, Albert entered the teaching profession. In 1892, while living with his parents at Pine Range, Gunning, he was "instructed to take temporary charge" of the Khalangan School near Burrowa from Miss Jeannie Yabsley.

Khalangan School was the target of an arson attack on 6 February 1896. The school was destroyed – shades of Chain of Ponds School. A reward of £50 was offered by the Government along with a free pardon to any accomplice who might provide information leading to the arrest and conviction of the arsonist.

The following year Albert was replaced by John Giles and went to the Galong Provisional School. In 1894 Albert was awarded a reclassification certificate having sat for an examination in July that year. This led to his appointment as teacher at Griffith's Flat and Jeir half-time schools and then to Cavan and Warham Schools in 1895. Albert was the last teacher at Cavan School. During his time at Cavan School he boarded with a local famer, John Archer at Warroo. The school closed six months into Albert's 'tenuous tenure', due to insufficient pupil numbers, and never reopened. By 1902 Albert Noah Alchin was teacher-in-charge, with an assistant, at Berrabangalo and Waggallalah half-time schools.
[Goulburn Herald, 28 February 1902. National Library of Australia].

This rapid transfer between schools may well have made Albert a little confused about his career but he steadied himself in 1896 to marry Louisa Susannah Borman (1877-1939) on 19 December 1896. The final years of Albert's teaching career were spent at Tiverton Public School near Murrumburrah following confirmation of his higher teaching classification in 1898 while at Berrabanglo and Waggallalah.

It was at Gunning that the first three children were born; the next three at Tiverton and the last two at Gunning. The 8 children were: Veronica (1897-1968), Arthur Montague (1899-1917), Reginald (1901-1955), Ada Dulcie (1903-1961), Adrian Bernard, aka Barney (1904-1972), Stanley Ernest (1906-1963), Ruby Jean (1908-1910) and Daphne Cora Isobel (1911-1982).

Albert Noah Alchin retired from teaching on 31 March 1908 'without gratuity'. He became a baker while the family lived at Gunning. In 1910, Albert and Louisa suffered the tragic death of their daughter Ruby Jean who died of pneumonia following a measles outbreak that affected the whole family; she was only twenty-one months old.

Perhaps due to his role as a school teacher – a central role in any community – Albert involved himself in many local events and issues. In 1900 Albert and Louisa were involved in the school picnic held at Gunning for the Berrebanglo and Waggallalah schools. Albert presented each child with a book. Albert made contributions to the local football club, he was elected to the committee of the Gunning School of Arts and a shareholder of the Dalton and District Farmers' Co. Ltd. The Empire Day committee at Gunning included Albert as Secretary.

Significantly for Gunning Public School, Albert was central to the establishment of the Parents and Citizens' Association; he was elected Secretary of the local branch. He acted as an official on the supervising committee for local examinations for candidates for probationary studentship with a view to further education.

In January 1913, one of the students from Gunning who sat for the Qualifying Certificate Examination was Arthur Montague Alchin, son of Albert and Louisa Alchin. Arthur was successful in qualifying to do further education in high school and qualified for a bursary.

Albert Noah Alchin became ill and was convinced to travel to Sydney for an operation. Albert died in hospital at Summer Hill, Sydney on 16 January 1913. The primary cause of death was recorded as 'cardiac thrombosis'. He also suffered from a large intestine problem. His remains were brought back home to Gunning on the mail train. He was buried in the Methodist portion of the Gunning Cemetery on 17 January 1913. He was forty-two years old.

Louisa Susannah Alchin was left with seven children, the youngest was only two years old. Her eldest son, Arthur Montague Alchin enlisted in World War 1; he died at Passchendaele in 1917. Louisa also lost her brother Frank Henry Borman, who was killed at the Battle of Polygon Wood in 1917.

Louisa died at Burrangong near Young on 21 March 1939 aged sixty-three years. She had left the Gunning district, initially living at Yalbraith near Taralga with her son Adrian Bernard, his wife Emily and Louisa's daughter Ada Dulcie. In 1931 she was living at Burrangong Siding, Young and for a short time at Golspie near Crookwell in 1932. Although Louisa was buried at Young a plaque was placed on the grave beside Albert in her memory.

Reproduced from Gunning & District Historical Society blogspot with grateful acknowledgement to Garry Smith and the Society. Original, with illustrations, can be found here.

Obituary for Albert Noah Alchin - Goulburn Evening Penny Post, 21 January 1913, p. 4)


Teachers >

<< Early Canberra Government Schools