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Lake, Mr Thomas A.

'Thomas Lake was the replacement teacher appointed to the school which had about 25 enrolments. He began by overseeing maintenance on the building, which had been standing for a decade. Lake's time at Sutton was marked by very mixed circumstances, both professionally and personally. His wife died in 1895. They had been on holiday to Moss Vale when she became ill and was diagnosed with tuberculosis. She was dead the next day. A few months later his son also died. He remarried the following year.

The mid-1890's were characterised by economic depression. The lack of funds forced the Department of Education to reduce teacher salaries, cut back on teaching supplies, building works and maintenance. There was a downturn in enrolments at Sutton that forced a merger with Brooks Creek school in 1896, located approximately 12 kilometres from Sutton. Lake was obliged to travel between the two schools, initially is a horse and buggy and later by bicycle. Lake was a keen cyclist and had helped establish a cycle club at Sutton. He continued at both schools for the next three years until enrolments at Brooks Creek were so low that the school was closed and Sutton was forced to amalgamate with Mulligans Flat school...

....Thomas Lake continued teaching at Sutton until 1907, when he left for Gundaroo. Lake had been a well-liked member of the community who was respected for his teaching and educational results for their children. In 1909 Tom Lake obtained a magic lantern for the Sutton school after watching flickering movies at Gundaroo'.

[edited extract from 'Sutton Stories. 150 years 1867-2017, Compiled by Alan McNeill and Alison Walker, Sutton & District Community Association 2019, p.49]

Death of Mrs Lake.

"It is my painful duty to chronicle the death of Mrs Lake, whose illness I reported in my last. The sad event took place at the residence of her parents, near Moss Vale, I understand, on Wednesday last, and the funeral took place on Friday. Deceased suffered from consumption, which I believe was the ultimate cause of her death. Mrs Lake was in her twenty fifth year.

Much sympathy is felt for the bereaved husband, as they had only been married twelve months, and he is left with a little daughter two months old to care for. During her short sojourn here Mrs Lake had won many friends by her quiet, unassuming and genial manner, and her early demise is universally regretted. I understand that Mr Lake resumes duties in the local public school after this week".

SUTTON. Death of Mrs Lake. Queanbeyan Age Wednesday 30th January 1895

"Earlier, in the grand days of Darmody's sports, when there were ploughing matches at Sutton, the most distinguished winner was William Fraser Dunn, son of Francis Dunn of Mimosa Glen; he gave up the life of a Sutton farmer in 1901 to become a teacher, then entered politics as M.L.A. for Mudgee in 1910 and later was Minister for Lands in the New South Wales parliament. His success was largely attributed to the skill of Tom Lake, teacher at Sutton from 1897 to 1907 (and then at Gundaroo till l9l2).

When Bill Dunn at his send-off in 1902 received a gold medal presented by Lake for the best scorer in the Sutton Cricket Club, Lake himself, who had successfully entered four pupils for teacher's€ entrance examinations in ten months, was given a gold pendant by Dunn and his sister, Flora, two of the successful entrants"

[from Errol Lea-Scarlett, 'Gundaroo' p. 127]

The Age reported that Gundaroo Public School teacher Mr T. A Lake gained increased kudos at each inspection for forwarding many exhibits to the Great Easter Show in Sydney including poetry, Fretwork carpentry, jam preserves and local produce grown in the school garden'.

Sutton was a Half Time school with Brooks Creek Jan 1897 - June 1900, and with Mulligans Flat July 1900 - March 1903

[Queanbeyan Age Friday 25th March 1910]


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