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Boate, Mr John Beresford

Life and career

John Beresford Boate was born in Dungarvan, Waterford, Ireland into a wealthy planter family. By 1852, his father, George Boate was bankrupt. He and members of the family migrated to Australia to start afresh. According to electoral rolls, it appears that the Boates settled first at Stone Quarry Creek near Taralga.

In 1861 John Boate married Sarah Phillips in Goulburn. She was a recently arrived student teacher, who was also from a relatively wealthy family

In 1866 Boate was appointed teacher at the Church of England school at Collector. By mid-1868, he is recorded as a teacher at Gundaroo Public School, becoming head teacher in 1870. It is likely that Sarah shared the workload with him during these appointments. He then taught at Sutton from 1872 until May 1873, before moving out of the district to teach at schools further east in NSW.

John Beresford Boate ended his career in education serving as a school inspector from about 1881. He died in 1901 at his home in Penrith.

Other teachers in the Boate and Phillips families

In the 1860-70s, John Boate and his Phillips family relatives provided four teachers working in two schools within the Gundaroo district. No doubt, the family used its connections to assist members find and retain positions in different schools.

Sarah Boate's uncle, Stephen Phillips, was himself a schoolmaster and in the position to act as a remote matchmaker for teachers for two of his nieces, when they arrived in the colony in 1859. It seems more than a coincidence that both Phillips women quickly wed local teachers: John Boate and Alfred Rich. Stephen remained at Taralga as teacher and then storekeeper for many years before moving to Bolong, where, one day in 1874, he was murdered by a man who had assaulted his wife.

As mentioned above, Sarah's teacher cousin, Margaret Phillips, married Alfred Rich, a decommissioned soldier, who set himself up as a schoolmaster at Taralga with Stephen Phillips. He and Margaret then ran a school at the northern end of Gundaroo in 1863. By 1868, Sarah and John Boate were teaching at the opposite end of the town. This saw four members of the same family teaching in the Gundaroo district in the late 1860s to early 1870s.

Margaret died unexpectedly in May 1880 at her residence in Nelanglo. She is buried in Gundaroo General Cemetery in an unmarked grave. In August 1881, her husband, Alfred Rich, moved to Ginninderra, where he established a small private school, located on premises near the Gribble family at 'The Valley'. He ran this school for several years, servicing Ginninderra, Mulligans Flat and Tea Gardens, but closed it in March 1892, when enrolments waned and his health began to fail. Alfred took the opportunity to retire to Gunning, where he lived out his remaining years with his son.



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