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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Nelson, Marlborough & Westland Provincial Districts]


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Matters connected with education in Marlborough are administered by the Marlborough Education Board, the Board of Governors of the Marlborough High School—the same persons sit on both—and the Marlborough School Commissioners. The Government has recently granted a sum of £900 for a Technical School, which is to be built on the block that contains the State schools. The public schools are so conducted that the children of all classes of the community can be taught at them, and the passage from the primary to the secondary schools has now been made easy for qualified pupils.

The Marlborough Education Board . For many years the interests of education in Marlborough were controlled by a number of minor corporations, but in 1877 the province was created an educational district with a central governing body known as the Marlborough Education Board, and at the first election, the following gentlemen were returned as members: Messrs A. P. Seymour (chairman), C. Goulter, E. Paul, W. E. Dive, Joseph Ward, T. E. Hodson, J. T. Robinson, H. Ingles, and Captain Baillie. Each year, as population in the province has increased, new schools have been erected; and within recent years the number of schools under the Board's control has grown rapidly. In the year 1890 there were only thirty-one schools in the province, and at present (1905), there are about seventy. The Marlborough education district is one of the most scattered in the colony, and great credit is due to the local Education Board for the promptness with which it assists the settlers in the establishment of aided schools in the outlying districts. In the Sounds there are about thirty schools, with an average of only seven children each, and in several small districts schools have been opened and maintained for the benefit of only one family. In 1899, a High School was established in Blenheim, for the purpose of secondary education. The offices of the Education Board are situated at the corner of Alfred and Seymour Streets, and the Board meets monthly. Members of the Board for the year 1905: Messrs John Duncan (chairman), J. C. Chaytor, W. H. Macey, C. Ferguson, A. G. Fell, A. J. Litchfied, R. McCallum, W. B. Parker, and J. J. W. White. Secretary and treasurer, Mr. John Smith; Inspector, Mr. D. A. Strachan.

Mr. Alfred John Litchfield , J.P., is a member of the Marlborough Education Board. He was born at Ipswich, England, in the year 1844, and is the eldest son of the late Mr. F. J. Litchfield, who is further referred to as the first Mayor of Blenheim. Mr. Litchfield was partly educated in the Old Country, and partly at Nelson College. He came out to New Zealand with his parents in 1853, and, on leaving college, turned his attention to pastoral pursuits. For about five years, Mr. Litchfield was employed on a sheep station in the Awatere district.
Macey, photo. Mr. A. J. Litchfield.

Macey, photo. Mr. A. J. Litchfield.

and afterwards, for seven years, he farmed his father's property at Kaituna. In the year 1870 he acquired his present farm, which is known as “Livermere.” and is situated in the Renwick Road, near Blenheim. This farm consists of 150 acres, and is devoted to agriculture. Mr. Litchfield also owns a sheep run of 600 acres in the Waihopai district, known as “Longdale,” which is managed by one of his sons. He has also for many years done an extensive trade in chaff-cutting, grain threshing, and heavy haulage, and is one of the largest traction engine proprietors in the province. Mr. Litchfield has been a member and chairman of the County Council, the Omaka Road Board, the Lower Wairau River Board, and a member of the Wairau Hospital and Charitable Aid Board. He has been twice president of the Marlborough Agricultural and Pastoral Association, and is a trustee in the estate of the late Mr. Thomas Carter, owner of “Hillersden,” etc. Mr. Litchfield has held almost every office in the local Wesleyan church, and has twice been appointed a delegate to the General Conference of the Methodist Church of Australasia. He is a man of culture, and takes a great interest in literary and scientific subjects, and possesses an excellent library. Mr. Litchfield has been twice married, and has four sons and four daughters.

Mr. John Smith was appointed Secretary of the Marlborough Education Board in the year 1890. He was born in March, 1834, in London, England, and was educated at Marlborough, in Wiltshire, and under his brother-in-law, Dr. Badham. In October, 1855, Mr. Smith arrived in Nelson, and during the ensuing nine years was engaged in surveying, teaching, and farming. In 1864, he was appointed headmaster of the Nelson Boys' School, and eleven years later he accepted an appointment as secretary and inspector to the Westland Education Board.

Mr. David Anderson Strachan , M.A., was appointed Inspector to the Marlborough Education Board in July, 1904. He was born on the 15th of July, 1871, in Montrose, Scotland, came to New Zealand with his parents, and landed at Port Chalmers, Otago, in the year 1877. Mr. Strachan was educated at the Port Chalmers District High School, of which he was dux for the year 1887, and continued in the same institution as a pupil teacher. Two or three years later, he entered the Normal School in Dunedin, and became exhibitioner for the year 1892. Mr. Strachan then went to the Otago University, where he graduate B.A. in 1894, and M.A., with double honours in mental and political science, in 1895. He was afterwards appointed assistant at the Kumara public school, and shortly afterwards was promoted to the mastership of page 329 the secondary department of the Westport District High School. Mr. Strachan was subsequently appointed junior Inspector of Schools in Nelson, prior to his present appointment.

Secondary Schools.

The Marlborough High School was constituted by an Act of Parliament in the year 1899. This Act provided for the payment of an annual sum of money from the Colonial Treasury for the maintenance of the school, and it was the first in which the Government introduced the principle of requiring free places to be provided for pupils in proportion to the revenue derived by schools from their endowments. The school was opened on the 26th of March, 1900, and was conducted for the first year in the schoolroom of the Church of the Nativity. In September of the same year the foundation stone of the present building was laid by the late Hon. W. C. Walker, then Minister of Education, and in 1901 the new building, though not then finished, was taken possession of. The section on which the school stands is six acres in area, and extends from Stephenson Street to Frances Street. Half of this section was presented by the late Mr. Thomas Carter, one of the most earnest advocates for the establishment of the school, who at a subsequent date subscribed £50 to the funds of the institution; and the other half was purchased by the Board of Governors. The building is of wood, and contains four class rooms. There is also a playshed, which is fitted up with Sandow appliances. The growing popularity of the school is seen in its increasing numbers. On the opening day of the second year, there were fifty-two names on the roll, and at the beginning of 1905, the number had increased to nearly 110. Dr. Innes, who at first conducted the school single-handed, is now assisted by a competent staff of five, including three university graduates. The examination results have been consistently good, and many of the pupils have gained creditable places in competitive tests. A cadet corps was formed in August, 1903, and there are football, cricket, and hockey clubs. There is also an Old Boys' Association. In December, 1901, a monthly magazine entitled “Marlburian,” was established, and is edited by the pupils.

Dr. John Innes, M.A. LL. D. (New Zealand University), Headmaster of the Marlborough High School, was born in Christchurch, in July, 1860, and is the eldest son of Mr. George Innes, a retired settler. He was educated at Mr. Charles Cook's School, where he won an Education Board Scholarship, at Christ's College, and at Canterbury College, where he became Bowen Prizeman for two years. Dr. Innes graduated M.A. with first-class honours in the year 1881, and in the following year was appointed assistant master of the Timaru High School. In 1883, he resigned to accept an appointment in the Wellington Girls' High School, where he taught for seventeen years, before taking
Macey, photo.Dr. J. Innes.

Macey, photo.
Dr. J. Innes.

charge of the Marlborough High School. While in Wellington, Dr. Innes studied law, graduated LL.B., and two years later LL.D. During his long residence in that city, Dr. Innes did much in the interests of University education. For twelve years, he conducted large private classes composed of candidates for University honours; in conjunction with Mr. Fleming, the Senior School Inspector of the privince, he fought for the establishment of a University College, and for three years he was chairman of the Court of Convocation of the University of New Zealand. Dr. Innes takes a keen interest in the social affairs of Blenheim, and is president and vice-president of several clubs.

Primary Schools.

The Blenheim Borough School is the only public primary school within the town boundary. It is a substantial brick building of one storey, and stands on a section bounded by Seymour and Alfred Streets and Park Terrace. The school is divided into two separate departments—a Boys' Department and a Girls' Department, each of which is under a separate head, and conducted independently of the other. The Boys' Department has accommodation for girls and boys up to and including Standard I, and for all male pupils above that status. It contains five class rooms; has 300 names on the roll, and there is an average attendance of 250. Mr. D. A. Sturrock is headmaster of the Boys' Department, and has five assistants. The Girls' Department contains three class rooms. There are 160 names on the roll, and the average attendance is 130. Miss Lottie Brewer, the headmistress, is assisted by a mistress and two pupil teachers.

Mr. David Addison Sturrock was appointed Headmaster of the Boys' Department of the Blenheim Borough School in the year 1894. He was educated primarily at Arbroath, Forfarshire, Scotland, and afterwards at Dundee, whence he proceeded as Queen's scholar to the Normal Training College, Edinburgh University. Mr. Sturrock was then appointed assistant master to the Ferry Hill School, Aberdeen. Two years later, in 1884, he came to New Zealand, taught for about ten years in the Napier Borough School—first as second, and latterly as first, assistant master—before receiving his present appointment. Mr. Sturrock is a member of, and one of the colonial examiners for, the Tonic-Sol-Fa College, London; and Major of the Marlborough Battalion of School Cadets, and a member of one of the local volunteer corps. He is also president of the local Poultry Association, of the Hockey and Cricket Clubs, chairman of the New Zealand Egg-Laying Competition, and a member of the Marlborough Club.

Miss L Brewer.

Miss L Brewer.

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Miss Lottie Brewer , Headmistress of the Blenheim Borough School, is a daughter of Mr. Robert Brewer, a well known builder in Blenheim. She was educated in the Borough School, afterwards served for five years as a pupil teacher, and was then appointed mistress of the Port Underwood school. A few months later, Miss Brewer was appointed assistant mistress to the Canvastown school, and shortly afterwards was appointed sole teacher at Onamalutu, whence she proceeded as first assistant mistress to the Girls' Department of the Blenheim Borough School. In the year 1902, she was appointed acting headmistress during the absence of Miss Douslin, and on the resignation of Miss Douslin, Miss Brewer was appointed her successor. She holds a DI certificate.

The Springlands Public School has been established for many years. It is situated about a mile and a-half from Blenheim, and has of late years been extended, and completely renovated. It is a wooden building of one storey, with three large class rooms, and has accommodation for nearly 280 pupils. There is also a detached playshed. The playground is extensive, and possesses flower beds, planted and cultivated by the pupils, under the direction of the headmaster. There are about 180 names on the roll, and the average attendance is 140. The school cadet corps has a membership of fifty-one, with the headmaster as captain, and there is also a branch of the Navy League, with a membership of thirty-one. The tone of the Springlands school is excellent, and the results of the examinations reflect credit upon the headmaster and his staff. The school residence is a convenient one, and is situated on the opposite side of the road.

Mr. Harry Jerome Howard , Headmaster of the Springlands Public School, is the eldest son of Mr. C. C. Howard, headmaster of the Picton public school. He was born at Oxford. England, in the year 1870, came to New Zealand with his parents in 1876, and was educated chiefly at the Wellington College, and at the Collegiate School, Wanganui, under the late Dr. Harvey. In 1886, Mr. Howard went to the Old Country to complete his education, returned to New Zealand three years later, and entered the Picton public school as a pupil teacher. A little later, he held a temporary appointment at the Terraceend school, Palmerston North, and then took charge of a school in the Rangitikei district. In 1895, Mr. Howard returned to Marlborough as master of the Tua Marina public school, and later on received his present appointment. He is a member of several social bodies. Mr. Howard married Miss Sybil Greensill, a daughter of Mr. J. A. R. Greensill, and niece of the Hon. Captain Baillie, in the year 1894.

Roman Catholic Schools.

The Convent in connection with the Roman Catholic Church in Blenheim was erected at a cost of £1500. It is a handsome two-storied building, and has a well-equipped high school for girls, and also a detached music room. The convent stands on a section of two acres of land adjoining the church. It is a branch of the Convent House in Wellington, which is the mother-house of the district. During the vacations, the Sisters of Mercy return to Wellington, whence the staff is supplied. The boys' and girls' school is taught by the Sisters of Mercy, and examined by the Marlborough Education Board's Inspector, who reports that the teaching is equal to the best in the district. The old convent is now used as the private residence of the caretaker of the property.

The Catholic Day School for both boys and girls, is largely attended, the teachers are popular, and the instruction is good. Some of the children come a distance of over twenty miles.

St. Patrick's Hall was erected in the year 1903 at a cost of £500. It is a large wooden building, and is fitted up with a stage, supper rooms and other conveniences. It has accommodation for nearly 500 persons, is one of the most popular halls in Blenheim, and is largely used for all kinds of public entertainments.